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Arsenal and Manchester United facing new competition for defensive target

Southampton have opened the bidding for Celtic star Virgil van Dijk ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United, reports the Daily Express.

The south coast side have offered £7 million for the 24-year-old, according to the Express, who is apparently keen to move to the Premier League. He is a regular for the Scottish club, and has helped them to win the last two SPL titles after joining from Groningen.

A cultured centre-back, the Dutchman could fit well in to all three of the interested side’s defences. He has also been linked with Everton, who again tend to keep the ball on the ground [Daily Mail]. Whoever does sign the defender will be taking something of a risk, as he has never yet been tested in a league as tough as the Premier League.

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With such fierce competition for the player’s signature, having alternatives will be key for the sides involved. The Red Devils have been linked with a move for Everton ace John Stones [Daily Mirror], while the Gunners are undestood to be considering a move for AS Roma star Alessio Romagnoli, although as yet, no bid has been forthcoming [talkSPORT].

Both of the Champions League sides are in need of a new defender if they are going to challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title. The pair both conceded more than the Stamford Bridge outfit last time round, and it will take significant improvements from either to catch up after finishing 12 (Arsenal) and 17 (Man Utd) points behind the champions in the last campaign.

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