- Arsenal are reportedly among the clubs in the race for Virgil van Dijk
- The Southampton defender would likely command a transfer fee of around £70million
- This would eclipse what Arsenal paid for record signing Alexandre Lacazette in the summer
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Arsenal are reportedly emerging as surprise contenders to seal the transfer of £70million-rated Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk this January.
Liverpool and Manchester City are interested in the Netherlands international, but the Times also mention the Gunners as considering a move that would break their transfer record for the second time this season.
Arsenal could do with more quality in defence after some unconvincing recent form, with Shkodran Mustafi looking culpable in the recent defeat to Manchester United, while there’s little in the way of backup.
Per Mertesacker will be retiring from playing at the end of the season, and the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal aren’t getting any younger either.
Van Dijk, meanwhile, has been one of the top centre-backs in the Premier League in recent years and clearly has plenty of admirers.
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Arsenal’s current transfer record is thought to be at around £46.5million, the fee BBC Sport report they paid Lyon to sign Alexandre Lacazette this summer.
The France international hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start at the Emirates Stadium, but with the market being what it is, this is the kind of money needed for this level of player now.
Arsenal shouldn’t be too cautious about paying up for Van Dijk, who looks like he’d be a clear upgrade on what they’ve currently got in that position.
More importantly, the 26-year-old is also younger so would be a more long-term option in that role, and of course there’s the added boost of ruining their rivals’ transfer plans if they can pull the deal off.
While in the past a move like this breaking a club’s transfer record might’ve seemed like madness, it now looks a sensible and necessary move by Arsenal.