Southampton have announced that centre back Virgil van Dijk has signed a new contract keeping him at St Mary’s for a further six years.
The Dutchman signed on the dotted line and agreed a new deal ahead of the vital clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Van Dijk moved to the South Coast in the summer transfer window from Scottish champions Celtic and has a made a fantastic start to his career in the Premier League.
The new Saint
The 24-year-old made his debut for Saints in a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion, with boss Ronald Koeman paying tribute, by calling his performance “perfect”.
The defender’s form was noticed by Danny Blind, who gave van Dijk his international debut, as he featured for the Netherlands in a 2-1 victory against Kazakhstan in October. He has been ever-present this season since arriving from Glasgow, and creating a solid partnership with skipper Jose Fonte.
Executive Director of Football Les Reed was effusive in his praise of Van Dijk, telling the club's website that the Dutchman has "established himself as one of the best centre-backs" in the top flight, describing his contribution to another successful season as "integral".
Reed went on to add that he hopes that Van Dijk's young age and European experience means he can become "a key pillar in our squad for years to come", and noted that the club were "delighted" to have him tied down for the future.
Reccomendations from the hierarchy
Reed, talking before the contract signing, went on to claim that Van Dijk's new deal was a sign of the club's ambitions for the coming seasons, and felt a statement of intent was important despite his only joining the club at the beginning of the season.
In an interview for the club website, van Dijk said that he was pleased to have signed on, adding that "me and my family have enjoyed it a lot this year".
"The club is growing", he continued, "and I definitely want to grow with them."
With the Dutch not qualifying for the 2016 European Championships, it will allow van Dijk to focus on improving his performance for Saints' 2016/2017 Premier League campaign.