After another brilliant season at the back for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, it looks increasingly likely that he will make a big money move to one of Europe’s giants. Southampton, no matter how much you’d like to deny it, are a selling club, and will already be making plans as to who can replace one of their mainstays this summer.
Though having signed a six-year deal just in May 2016, van Dijk has been linked with a departure. The Netherlands international is worth every bit of the hype, as he has excelled since signing for the south coast club in September 2015. Still only 25, the Dutchman is solid on the ball, tackles with impeccable timing and can pass the ball out from the back.
Now there’s a skill set that would make any manager envious around Europe. A 50 million pound value is set on him, as several clubs vie for his signature in the transfer window. One thing is for certain, Southampton will need to rebuild again.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they have time and time again unearthed absolute gems in the past and van Dijk is just one player who will pass through the revolving door at Southampton. This time, though, they appear to be losing potentially one of their most talented players ever, and replacing him will be no easy task.
In light of the impending departure, here are three potential names who can replace van Dijk.
One of the greatest centre-backs the Premier League and possibly the whole footballing world has ever seen. John Terry announced he will be leaving his club Chelsea at end of this season. Despite being 36, the Englishman is more than capable of marshalling a top ten Premier League team.
Southampton could be the ideal destination. There won’t be as much pressure to win titles like at Chelsea, neither is there any fear of relegation.
He is commanding in the air, a born leader. His reading of the game is exceptional and Southampton can squeeze out the last of what is left of the legendary man.
He has made over 500 appearances for Chelsea, and experience is a key part in defending. An able tackler with good passing skills, Terry can see out the rest of his career at Southampton and help out the young crop of defenders currently at the club.
The Frenchman (27) is as talented as he is tenacious. The “beast”, as former manager Brendan Rodgers called him, is a class act. Great tackling, heading and passing ability are attributes associated with him.
After Jürgen Klopp sent him packing in the pre-season for indiscipline, Sakho moved to Crystal Palace on loan in January. Since moving, the Frenchman has helped the team move out of the relegation zone with noteworthy performances.
Southampton will have to spend big on Sakho, but it comes with the silver lining being that he has played in the best teams, and will add much-needed aggressiveness to a Southampton side.
He is the typical English centre-half – big, tough tackling, and lets the other team’s players know he’s there. Expect Southampton to get into a bidding war after his loan spell at Crystal Palace ends. Sakho is a better option compared to Terry, but the club will have to spend some money on him, of which they won’t be short considering the price tag on van Dijk.
The South American Player of the year 2016 has been raising a few eyebrows this season, having earned his move to Ajax. Still only 20, the Columbian has established himself in the centre of defence for the Dutch giants.
He has already made his debut for the Columbian national team. Sanchez represents a great deal in terms of business and sell-on value. Though he is still raw, he has shown great form and reads the game very well.
Sanchez is also known for his great passing skills, often opting to play out from the back instead of just booting the ball out.
He is one for the future and can learn his trade in the Premier League.