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Everton may have the edge in race for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk

Toffees set to launch ambitious bid for Dutch defender

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Everton are ready to make a big-money bid for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk this summer, according to the Liverpool Echo.

It’s no secret that Ronald Koeman is looking to bolster his defence and the Echo claim van Dijk is at the top of his wishlist.

Koeman knows all about the Netherlands international having signed him while Southampton manager for £13m in 2015.

Since moving to the south coast the 25-year-old has established himself as one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League - and that has made him a wanted man.

Chelsea and Manchester City have both been linked with a move for van Dijk but Koeman is determined to do all he can to lure him to Goodison Park.

Stoke City v Southampton - Premier League
Ronald Koeman worked with Virgil van Dijk at Southampton
Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images

The fact they are compatriots and have worked together before will certainly help Everton’s cause, even in the absence of Champions League football.

Van Dijk has also recently switched agents to the Wasserman Group, the same agency that represents Koeman.

The Echo claim that relationship could help Everton seal what would be a stunning transfer.

The main issue is, of course, the fee. Southampton reportedly value van Dijk - who only signed a new six-year contract last May - at £55m.

Not only would that be a record fee for a defender but also the joint-seventh most expensive transfer in football history.

Koeman will certainly have funds to spend this summer but it remains to be seen whether he will stretch to such an exorbitant fee.

That represents just one stumbling block in a transfer that has a long way to go before it’s even close to becoming a reality.

Van Dijk isn’t the only defender rumoured to be on Everton’s shortlist with Burnley’s Michael Keane and Hull’s Harry Maguire also reported targets.