According to the Daily Mirror, Southampton have tabled a $12 million bid for Celtic’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
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The 24-year-old is a flamboyant center back who loves to stride out of defense with the ball, and it is believed that if Celtic do not progress to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League then the Scottish champions will cash in on van Dijk. The likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland have all been linked with Van Dijk in the past, but Ronald Koeman’s side could have the upper hand due to Koeman’s legendary status in Holland and Saints already attracting a number of Dutch internationals, such as Jordy Clasie and Maarten Stekelenburg, and several players from the Dutch Eredivisie. Southampton have already signed center back Steven Caulker on loan from QPR for the season, but they have let two young center backs — Jordan Turnbull and Jack Stephens — go out on loan in the last few days.
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Rumors linking Arsenal with a move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema continue to circulate, with Spanish outlet AS claiming that Arsene Wenger is willing to pay $75 million for the French international striker. Benzema, 27, has long been linked with a move to the Premier League but when asked about the supposed interest in Benzema following Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, Wenger said no bid has been made for Benzema and he doesn’t know where the report has come from. Theo Walcott, usually a winger, started up top for Arsenal on Sunday and Olivier Giroud came off the bench to replace him for the final 25 minutes. Was Wenger sending out a message to the Arsenal board that he needs a new striker by playing Walcott up front? Who knows.
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One piece of business which looks more likely to happen for Arsenal is the signing of 15-year-old goalkeeper Joao Virginia from Benfica. A report from Portugal claims that the youngster, who had a trial with Manchester United earlier this year, has snubbed the Red Devils and has decided to join Arsenal on a four-year deal. It looks like Wenger is up to his old tricks again, as the French manager loves to buy talent from across Europe and nurture them through Arsenal’s academy. Highly-rated teenagers Donyell Malen and Ismael Bennacer have also joined the Gunners in recent days.
Finally, the Guardian says that Sunderland will look to add some serious steel to its midfield by signing Yann M’Vila and Leroy Fer in the coming days. M’Vila, 25, is a French international midfielder who is currently embroiled in a despite over pay with Russian club Rubin Kazan. The holding midfielder is expected to complete his move in the coming days. As for Fer, the Dutch international midfielder missed much of last season for QPR through injury but managed to score some stunning goals and is said to be available on loan from the Loftus Road outfit after their relegation to the Championship.