Despite attempts at reconciliation with their captain, Southampton are not certain that Virgil Van Dijk, 26, will remain at St Mary’s. The Dutch international has re-joined the first team squad ahead of the start of the Premier League season but new boss Manuel Pellegrino is ready to replace his captain should the expected bid from Liverpool emerge.
The Mail on Sunday believes that Tottenham’s Kevin Wimmer, 24, is the man identified as Van Dijk’s replacement. Not many tears will be shed by the White Hart Lane faithful if the twice-capped Austrian departs; he’s been unimpressive since joining from 1FC Koln in a €6m deal in 2015.
He’s made just 14 Premier League appearances and 29 overall, as he struggles to force his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s thinking. Wimmer was viewed as the weak link when the Argentine moved to a back three and blotted his copybook with supporters during the 2016 North London Derby when he scored an own goal which gave Arsenal an undeserved point.
Southampton haven’t given up hope of keeping Van Dijk. Liverpool’s ardour for the centre back cooled when the Saints reported them to the Premier League for tapping up and the Reds are well aware that they will have to pay a premium to secure the Dutchman’s services. Whether they rate Van Dijk that highly remains to be seen