Arsenal plot big-money move for defensive colossus

By Mark Peters IN General,Premier League,Transfers - 19:34 Jul 11th 2017

The decision to award Arsene Wenger a new two-year contract has clearly divided Arsenal supporters, with some feeling that he has taken the club as far as he can and others believing that further success is just around the corner.

Whatever their opinions on the Frenchman, most fans will be pleased to see the ambition shown by their team last week in securing the signing of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for an initial fee of £46.5m.

Sead Kolasinac has also arrived from Schalke on a free transfer and now reports in The Sun are suggesting that the Gunners are set to rival Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the race for Virgil van Dijk.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK

Unlike Arsenal, these three sides can all offer the 26-year-old Champions League football next season, though the fact that a move has so far failed to materialise certainly leaves the door open for the North London outfit to sweep in and get their man.

Thought to be valued at upwards of £50m by Southampton, the Netherlands international has developed into one of the finest defenders in the Premier League during his time on the South Coast:

Virgil van Dijk
POS: DEFAGE: 26Y 0M
HEIGHT: 6FT 4INWEIGHT: 14ST 6LB
PL | Southampton | 15/1616/17 | Southampton | PL
GOALS
CLEAN
SHEETS
GAMES
GAMES
CLEAN
SHEETS
GOALS
AUG
3
1
1
1
3
SEP
3
2
1
1
3
OCT
4
1
2
4
NOV
3
2
1
5
DEC
6
2
1
3
4
JAN
2
1
3
4
FEB
1
4
MAR
4
APR
3
MAY
3
11
34
TOTAL
21
9
1

In fact, despite not playing for one of the more fashionable sides, van Dijk has been involved in 20 clean sheets in 55 top-flight appearances, also weighing in with four goals along the way.

A foot injury meant that the centre-back’s 2016/17 campaign came to a premature close, but it is significant that Southampton conceded more goals per game and picked up less points per game when he was missing:

Virgil van Dijk
POS: DEFAGE: 26Y 0M
HEIGHT: 6FT 4INWEIGHT: 14ST 6LB
 
PL | SOU | 16/1716/17 16/17 | SOU | PL
WITHWITHOUT
20
MATCHES
17
35%
WIN%
29%
25%
DRAW%
24%
40%
LOSS%
47%
21
GOALS FOR
19
22
GOALS AGAINST
25
1.1
GOALS F
PER GAME
1.1
1.1
GOALS A
PER GAME
1.5
85.7
MINS PER
GOALS F
80.5
81.8
MINS PER
GOALS A
61.2
10.7
SHOTS F
PER GAME
10.1
1.3
POINTS
PER GAME
1.1
8
CLEAN SHEETS
6
10
TOTAL
2

Strong and imposing, yet incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet, the 26-year-old would be a perfect fit for Wenger’s current 3-4-3 formation.

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