Report: Arsenal line up Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk

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With Arsene Wenger confirming on Thursday that Arsenal seek to add a defender in the January transfer window, one man has jumped to the top of their wishlist.

If you believe reports from the Daily Telegraph, that man is Glasgow Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk.

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The 23-year-old Dutch defender joined the reigning Scottish champions from Groningen in 2013 and has been linked with various Premier League clubs over the summer but remained at Celtic Park. However with Arsenal in the hunt for defensive reinforcements and talk of $30 million available to spend in the transfer window, Van Dijk’s pricetag would be right around half that figure.

Earlier in the week the Gunners were linked with a $50 million move for German defender Mats Hummels and that report started to gather some steam when Wenger insisted on Thursday that he will look to add a defender in the next window. He added that “we [Arsenal] are a bit short because of the injuries we had. I think we will rectify that in the transfer market in January.”

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At the moment defenders Laurent Koscielny and Matheiu Debuchy are out injured, while Calum Chambers is suspended for Saturday’s clash vs. Hull City which means left back Nacho Monreal will be forced to play at center back for the first time in his career. The Gunners only have youngsters Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin as defensive back up as Wenger admitted he missed out on bringing in one more defender during the summer window.

Is van Dijk the missing piece for Arsenal? Without UEFA Champions League soccer this season, the young Dutch defender would surely fancy a move to the Premier League, even if it means not being a regular right away and just as cover. He is only 23 so he can grow into the club but he slots in with Arsenal’s playing philosophy seamlessly, ask Celtic’s fans about van Dijk. His numerous forays forward into the midfield and ability to score stunning goals is evident and he has 14 goals in 128 career appearances so far. Not bad for a center back.

Arsenal need a new center half, but does van Dijk fit the bill?