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Pep Guardiola wants £30m-rated Premier League ace to solve Manchester City defensive problem

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is reportedly targeting Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk as a replacement for injury-plagued Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian international suffered yet another setback last weekend as he picked up a knee injury in the win over Crystal Palace as his fitness nightmare continues.

In turn, according to The Daily Star, Guardiola could now be forced to move on after giving him a chance to prove his reliability with the Spanish tactician linked with making a bid for £30m-rated Van Dijk.

The former Celtic defender has been highly impressive since making his switch to the Premier League, with the report noting that the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have also been monitoring him with a view of trying to prise him away from St Mary’s.

The latter could be seen as favourites given their history of transfer dealings with Southampton in recent years, but it remains to be seen who moves first.

Despite signing a five-year contract when joining the Saints, Claude Puel could struggle to keep hold of the Dutchman given the clubs that are interested in signing him.

As for Kompany and City, regardless of the fact that when fit the 30-year-old has established himself as one of the top defenders in Europe with his commanding displays, Guardiola can’t afford to have to deal with his constant injury woes.

City will need a reliable presence at the heart of their defence to play alongside John Stones, and if Kompany can’t prove that he’s up for the job then ultimately Guardiola is right to look elsewhere with Van Dijk now seemingly his top target.

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