Despite being knocked down on multiple occasions in their pursuit to sign Virgil van Dijk throughout the summer, Liverpool are still very persistent of prising the central defender away from St. Mary’s. At one point of time during the ongoing summer transfer window, it was perceived that the Reds had pulled themselves out of the idea of making van Dijk sign over the dotted line, but one of the latest reports by The Telegraph suggests otherwise.
The 18-time English top flight winners have decided to come back once again with their £60million bid, which is indeed a staggering amount of money for a defender. The 26-year-old is a highly regarded player and no wonder Jürgen Klopp has put him on his radar.
It appears now that even the players might force the Saints in letting him leave for Anfield, which obviously implies that Mauricio Pellegrino has started to look for a replacement for the Dutch international whose exit seems to be on the cards.
Is Kone the answer?
Reports have surfaced that Southampton are keeping a close eye on Sunderland’s centre-back Lamine Kone. Kone doesn’t very fond memories of the Premier League with the Blacks Cats and was booed off the pitch during Sunderland’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Scottish giants, Celtic.
However, he did silence his critics with his impressive and solid display in his side’s Championship opener against Derby County, where which he carved 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 clearances and a block and did make a strong statement.
However, Simon Grayson is ready to accept offers for the 28-year-old and will sell him only if they meet the asking price. Although West Ham United are also keen on signing Kone, Southampton, as a contingency plan, should act quickly as their need to bring a quality central defender to their arsenal holds paramount importance. The Ivory Coast international would be a stellar addition to the ranks of Pellegrino, irrespective of whether van Dijk leaves or not.
The former Lorient defender has an imposing physique and is quite quick as well. He is sound in the air, is hard to knock off the ball, can make shrewd tackles and interceptions at the right times.
Kone will be playing with better players at Southampton, so that’ll bring out better performances. He has mustered good Premier League experience as well, and knows the animosity which the English top division offers and thus, acclimatising with the same shouldn’t be an issue.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored