Report: Manchester City to make £50m move for Virgil van Dijk

Report: Manchester City to make £50m move for Virgil van Dijk

Pep Guardiola will look to bring Southampton defender Virgin van Dijk to the Etihad in an attempt to end their defensive frailties

AdamWhiteside
Adam Whiteside

Manchester City are interested in signing Southampton defender Virgin van Dijk in a deal that could exceed £50m.

City's defensive issues mean they currently trail league leaders Chelsea by seven points, however Pep Guardiola sees the Saints centre-back as a possible solution to their problems.

​Van Dijk's performances

Since arriving at St Mary's from Celtic for £13m in 2015 van Dijk has become an intergral part of Southampton's defence and has been one of the club's most consistent performers.

Van Dijk's partnership with Jose Fonte has been the key to Southampton climbing to 7th in the Premier League with the third best defence in the league, conceding just 16 goals.

Fonte and van Dijk have formed a fantastic partnership. Photo; Getty/ Ian Kington
Fonte and van Dijk have formed a fantastic partnership. Photo; Getty/ Ian Kington

The Dutch defender has twelve clean sheets to his name this season and has the ability to pass out from the back, a skill with is central to Guardiola's ideolgy. Van Dijk has also averaged a goal every ten games throughout his senior career.

​City's defensive issues

While City have been a real threat going forward since the appointment of Guardiola, their defence hasn't been up to standard.

City have conceded 20 goals in their 17 Premier League games this season - the worst of any side in the top 7, alongside Liverpool. Six of City's last seven league games have seen them concede with their only clean sheet in that spell coming in a 2-0 victory over Watford.

Guardiola has struggled to find his best defensive line-up due to Vincent Kompany's injury issues, John Stones still settling in, and his indecision to stick with one formation.

City have struggled to find a back four that works. Photo: Getty/ Anadolu Agency
City have struggled to find a back four that works. Photo: Getty/ Anadolu Agency

The Spaniard started with three at the back against Leicester and City found themselves two goals in down inside the opening four minutes. However, with four at the back Aleksander Kolarov has had to step into the centre of defence at times, a position which isn't natural to him.

​Multiple signings, no solution

The acquisition of Stones in the summer from Everton was City's latest attempt at solving their defensive problems.

However, the £47.5 man is still settling in at the Etihad and has looked out of his depth at times making crucial mistakes against Barcelona and Arsenal. While Stones plays out from the back, which Guardiola wants, he is still relatively inexperienced.

Centre-backs such as Martin Demichelis, Eliaquim Mangala, and Nicolas Otamendi have all been brought in over the past few seasons in order to solve City's defensive problems.

An ageing Demichelis struggled in the Premier League, as did Mangala who is currently on loan with Spanish side Valencia.

Otamendi, who signed from Valencia for £28.5m, has been solid but with Kompany's never-ending injury issues and Stones' youth, City are still awaiting a real solution.

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