Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has ruled out making a move for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in January, but stopped short of denying he could try his luck at the end of the season.
As per Sky Sports, the Dutch international had been linked with a £50m move to Manchester in the New Year and was even seen enjoying his Saints teammates mocking him after he was given a City shirt as a Secret Santa gift.
Given how impressive he’s been at the heart of the Southampton defence this season, it’s no surprise that he has attracted interest from elsewhere. However, Guardiola has dismissed the idea that he will be lining up a move for him in the upcoming transfer window.
“Next month, Van Dijk here?” said Guardiola, as noted by Sky Sports.
“We’re going to Southampton to play against them (in April). He’s not going to come here next month. Impossible. Because he’s a Southampton player and we don’t want him now.”
Chelsea and Manchester United have also been paired with an interest in the 25-year-old, as per the report, and so the situation may well change if a bidding war is sparked and City are forced to make their move sooner than anticipated.
However, with Southampton likely to be desperate to avoid losing him midway through the campaign, it’s unlikely that a transfer will go through next month.
Claude Puel’s men have conceded just 16 goals in 17 games, the third best defensive record in the Premier League, and that is in large part to the defensive partnership between Van Dijk and Jose Fonte.
In turn, they’ll make it difficult for any club to break up that defensive pairing, with City and their rivals having to wait until the end of the season to make their move anyway.