Celtic defender, Virgil van Dijk has re-emerged as Arsene Wenger’s earmarked solution to plug the gap in his defensive crisis this season, according to reports.
The Dutchman was the reported target “who could play both at center back and defensive midfield”. per Goal’s Wayne Veysey, mooted to be pursued by Arsenal on deadline day. That statement would now appear spurious considering Wenger’s comments during the AGM on Thursday. The manager said that though there had been attempts to sign a defender before the end of the summer window, there had been none (good enough).
Wenger said, “We tried to buy one more defender, but we didn’t find one.”
Le Prof, however, confirmed his intention to “rectify” the dearth in defensive options in the team, with injuries making matters worse. He confirmed that French defender, Laurent Koscielny would miss the game at home to Hull this weekend, with the aggravation of the strain in his Achilles. Calum Chambers would also not be available for selection as he will serve his suspension for five yellow cards, leaving us with just Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal and, vice cap, Per Mertesacker as the only senior defenders in the squad – underlining the dire shortage at the rear.
Van Dijk is the latest in a long list of names that will be reeled in the rumour mill for the next 10 weeks, so that Wenger will not have any excuses of the non-availability of options. The Metro reports that he will cost us around £8m, which will be good news to Wenger (and Gooners) as we would still have some £12m to splash on one smash-and-grab addition elsewhere in the team.
At 6ft 4, Van Dijk would only be rivaled by Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker in height, giving us the much needed physical presence we seem to lack in defence. Though yet to win to make his debut with the Oranje, the 23-year old product of Groningen still has a lot of football in him to establish him as one of the strongest defenders of his generation. Unlike his fellow Dutchman, Ron Vlaar, who’s continued to be linked with us, Van Dijk still has the potential to improve important aspects of his game, while being more likely to play to instruction and in collaboration to his older teammates.
There won’t be an awful lot of world-class defenders available in January and those available will come at a premium. £8m must be good price for the young defender, plus Celtic are not in the Champions League. It would be more realistic to pursue him rather than the class of Hummels and Jordi Alba who may be reluctant to leave their big clubs.
The deal is subject to Wenger’s enquiry.
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