Liverpool identify Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk as summer transfer target

Naveen Ullal
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Liverpool are considering an option in signing Southamptonstar Virgil van Dijk in the summer transfer window as Jurgen Klopp looks to strengthen his side's back four for the next season.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager has the services of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan as his first choice centre-backs in the squad. The latter is in his early 30s, while the other two have struggled with injuries this season.

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According to the Daily Mail, the Reds manager is not eyeing Matip and Lovren as being first choice selection for the next season. He wants to improve competition and wants to bring in a player who can bolster their defence.

The Dutchman fits Liverpool's bill and hence the team want to make an approach for van Djik after the end of the season. The 25-year-old last featured for the Saints in his side's 3-0 victory over Leicester City in January.

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He picked up an ankle injury against the Foxes and has been sidelined since then. The centre-back is unlikely to return to action this season, but that has not put away interest from potential suitors.

Liverpool are not the only club interested in signing Southampton defender. They have joined the race along with Premier League leaders Chelsea and their league rivals Manchester City, who have long been chasing Van Dijk.

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In addition to this, Liverpool's local rivals Everton are also in the race for his signature, reports the Liverpool Echo. Southampton have slapped a £55m ($68.3m) price tag and the Toffees are unlikely to meet the Saints' asking price for the Dutchman.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman signed van Dijk for Southampton when the former was in charge at St Mary's Stadium. He will be hoping to reunite with his former player, but will face heavy competition from top Premier League clubs.

However, Claude Puel wants to keep van Dijk at the club beyond the summer transfer window but Southampton are aware that they will struggle to retain Van Dijk if top clubs come calling for his signature.

The Mail reports that Liverpool are ready to splash the cash in making quality additions in the summer. It should be seen whether Klopp can help the Reds beat the likes of Chelsea and City in signing van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk

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