Southampton have already started looking for Virgil van Dijk’s replacement, as they are concerned about losing him in January. However, Liverpool have pulled out of the race to sign the defender amid latest Manchester United links, reports Daily Mail.
Van Dijk’s defensive partner Jose Fonte is also believed to be edging closer to a January exit, after the Portuguese attacked his club over contract stalemate.
Not only United, but Manchester City are also eyeing a move for £40 million-rated Van Dijk, so as to reconstruct their weak backline.
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Captain Vincent Kompany is injured yet again, which leaves Pep Guardiola with only two recognised senior centre-halves; John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
Liverpool, despite being heavily linked with the 25-year-old, have now decided not to pursue a move in January, as Klopp is trying to prioritise other options, and is ready to welcome back Joel Matip and the promising Joe Gomez from injury.
Although Van Dijk’s current contract with Southampton runs until 2022 thanks to his 6-year deal, they remain concerned that he could be tempted away, as money is no object for the big dogs in the Premier League.
Saints are also worried Jose Fonte could leave in January, with Everton boss Ronald Koeman still keen to reunite with his former player.
Fonte, who was also identified as a potential target for Manchester United in the summer, is really frustrated at Southampton’s reluctance to offer him a longer contract when they agreed on a pay rise to £80,0000-a-week after his Euro 2016 winning campaign with Portugal.
The team skipper will be 33 later this month, and the club are believed to be happy with the current length of his deal, which expires in June 2018.
However, their recent stance has angered Fonte, and he looks to have almost decided to leave in January. And things have only gotten worse after he was left out of Southampton’s Europa League campaign by boss Claude Puel.