Arsenal are reportedly ready to join rivals Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City in the pursuit of the Southampton central defender’s signature.
Although Liverpool look to be Van Dijk’s preferred destination, The Sun claims that Arsenal are now in the running, after Southampton became reluctant to do business with the Reds due to their controversial approach earlier this summer.
Southampton’s relationship with Arsenal – after the previous signings of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Calum Chambers – means the Gunners could hope to create an opportunity for Arsene Wenger to bolster his defensive options.
Per Mertesacker’s retirement after the upcoming season has exacerbated the need for the Gunners to acquire another centre-half, who is fully capable with the demands of the Premier League, while the switch to a three at the back formation towards the end of last season would also suggest Wenger needs reinforcements at the back.
Any deal for van Dijk, who is valued at as much as £60m could mean Arsenal break their own transfer record for the second time in one summer – after the £45m acquisition of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.
However, without Champions League football at their disposal for the upcoming season, the Dutch defender may be swayed instead by the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, who can promise the highest level of European football for at least the 2017/18 season.