Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk is the next player touted for a big-money move away from St Mary’s.
He’ll cost a lot more than current transfer speculation is suggesting, though.
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The Dutch center back, 25, has been in sensational form for the Saints this season, scoring three goals and captaining them throughout their UEFA Europa League campaign with his strong defensive play shining through.
Reports are constantly linking him with a move to the likes of Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and others during the January transfer window and some had suggested there was a release clause of $32 million in the new six-year deal he signed in May.
That’s not the case, according to Southampton’s manager Claude Puel.
“It’s not true,” Puel said via the Southern Daily Echo. “After, the other thing is just speculation.”
Van Dijk has been an absolute monster at the back for a Southampton side which has the third-best defense in the Premier League in terms of goals conceded, just 15, and Saints have kept six clean sheets in their 15 PL games so far.
With Jose Fonte’s future uncertain at Southampton as the Portuguese center back and club captain has just 18 months to run on his current deal, that makes Van Dijk even more valuable. If John Stones is worth $70 million, then Van Dijk is worth the same, at least.
The former Cetlic center back is able to stride out of defense on the ball and join the attack, plus his is so strong and quick that it appears as though he’s playing in second gear the entire game. He is the epitome of a modern day central defender.
After the big money departures of Sadio Mane, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin and Dejan Lovren in the past, if Van Dijk is to join them by leaving St Mary’s, he would demand a bigger transfer fee than all of them.