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Arsenal open talks over possible deal to sign £50m Chelsea target
According to the Mirror, Arsenal have opened initial talks over a potential £50m deal to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk this summer.
Despite on-going question marks over his future, Arsene Wenger seems increasingly likely to remain in charge next season and the Frenchman is gearing-up for a busy summer.
The Mirror claim that Wenger is ready to implement a 3-4-3 formation on a permanent basis next season after using it for the first time in 20 years during our win at Middlesbrough on Monday night.
The switch in formation means we need to bring in another centre-back and the newspaper says we’ve now renewed our interest in van Dijk after opting against signing the Dutchman when he left Celtic in 2015.
The 25-year-old instead joined Southampton in a £13m deal and he’s proven to be a huge success, with van Dijk arguably establishing himself as the best centre-back in the Premier League.
The Mirror claim that Arsenal have now made enquiries over a potential deal but we’ll face stiff competition from not only Chelsea but also Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City.
Even if we manage to persuade van Dijk to choose Arsenal, we still need to agree a fee with Southampton and the report indicates the south coast club will demand £50m to sell their star man this summer.
We spent around £35m on Shkodran Mustafi last summer so Wenger is clearly willing to splash out big money on defenders if he feels it’s warranted but it remains to be seen whether he’ll agree to break our transfer record for van Dijk.
I’m all in favour of playing 3-4-3 next season and I think van Dijk would be a superb addition to the team so hopefully Wenger does his best to lure the Dutchman to north London.
If not, then the newspaper suggests that Roma’s Kostas Manolas remains a target and the Greek international could be available at a more affordable £35m.
However, if I were a betting man, I’d use my William Hill free bet to back Wenger not buying a centre-back and instead promoting Rob Holding next season. The youngster has shown a lot of promise and given Arsene needs to spend big on a new striker and central midfielder, I think he may save his money on a centre-back and go with our current options. And let’s not forget we also have Calum Chambers coming back from loan.