Prized defensive target Virgil van Dijk has handed in a formal transfer request as of this afternoon. The Southampton center half has been linked with a move away for a few months now, with Liverpool considered to be his destination but in recent days Chelsea have also been strongly linked with the defender’s signature. This has mostly been due to the Reds being called out on tampering charges over the player and having to issue an unprecedented public apology.
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton 16-17. Center backs with this type of versatility AND pace AND size are incredibly rare. pic.twitter.com/3gRtYXflcg— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) November 30, 2016
Everton for their part have been looking for additional cover on the left side of the defence, especially with Ramiro Funes Mori out for an extended period of time. Ronald Koeman managed van Dijk at the Saints, and was linked with making a move for the defender at the beginning of summer, but the arrival of Michael Keane quietened that talk.
Adding van Dijk would be a master stroke if the Blues are able to pull it off. The defender will most certainly not come cheap and a price tag in the £50m has been mooted. After Kyle Walker moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester City for more, it’s also not outlandish in this summer’s transfer market.
A pairing of Keane and van Dijk would propel Everton into the elite territory, apart from solidifying an ageing defence that has Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka in their 30s.
Virgil van Dijk has won more aerial duels and tackles combined (327) than any other Premier League CB since 2015/16.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 7, 2017
Monster at the back. pic.twitter.com/BFeO315JlC
With Everton’s paucity of wingers, it’s likely that fullbacks will be depended on for additional width, and a 3-5-2 formation would bring out the best of the Blues squad. A defender of van Dijk’s abilities would not only make the Everton a force to be reckoned with in the air both in defence and in the opposition box from setpieces, but would also allow Koeman to freely use the three-man backline that we’ve seen a few times in his time at Everton.
Here’s an unfortunate shot of realism though - it is very unlikely that Everton will drop another chunk of change for van Dijk especially if the Gylfi Sigurdsson deal is as close to completion as it has been made to sound. So as great as it sounds, the Dutchman will be very unlikely to join his fellow countrymen Davy Klaassen and Koeman at the Toffees.
Here’s van Dijk’s transfer request in full -