Southampton identify Virgil van Dijk’s replacement: Here’s everything you need to know about him

Transfer story

Virgil van Dijk’s transfer saga has been the second most talked about rumour this summer in the Premier League after that of Alexis Sanchez. The Dutch defender recently refused to go to the training camp in France and is still training alone at the club’s Staplewood training base. Despite manager Mauricio Pellegrino being keen on keeping hold of van Dijk, the former Celtic man has made up his mind of leaving Southampton and joining Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

According to various English tabloids, Southampton are firm in their approach to not selling van Dijk this summer but have started work on bringing his replacement in if the player refuses to train with the squad in the next few days. It is reported that the Saints have approached Lazio over the sale of their first choice centre-back, Wesley Hoedt. The 23-year old is a Dutch international and is seen as the perfect replacement for van Dijk at just £12 million.

Player stats

Hoedt joined the Italian giants in 2015 on a free transfer from AZ Alkmaar. He was brought in as a cover for Stefan De Vrij but soon replaced him as the first choice defender. Hoedt made 27 appearances for Lazio last season and also featured for Netherlands. With 1.3 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per 90 minutes, Hoedt is a centre-back who likes to wait before committing a challenge.

He is brilliant with the ball and has a passing accuracy of 87.2%. Along with that, Hoedt managed to attempt 7 long balls per game which make him a confident ball playing centre-back.

What will Hoedt offer Southampton?

Southampton have utilised Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens as their first choice centre-backs this pre-season with Jan Bednarek acting as a backup. The Saints are in dire need of a left sided centre-back who can dictate play from the back. To put in simple words, Southampton need a defender having the same skill set as Virgil van Dijk. His countryman, Hoedt fits the bill perfectly with the 23-year old being comfortable playing out from the back, being aerially strong and at the same time being a disciplined defender.

Worth the money?

At £12 million, Hoedt can prove to be a steal for Southampton. Along with his strong playing sense as a centre-back, Hoedt can play as a left back too which makes him an even greater acquisition to possess. The Saints are expected to receive £60 million for van Dijk and with Hoedt costing just a small margin of that amount, Southampton can then use the rest of the van Dijk money for strengthening other areas.

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