Jose Mourinho, the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has had far from a special start to his tenure at Manchester United. After 11 game weeks in the Premier League, the Red Devils look much inferior when compared to their title rivals Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Mourinho’s side have struggled for goals and at the same time, their defending has also been below par which is unacceptable.
Manchester United have identified Southampton enforcer Virgil van Dijk as the solution to their defensive woes if the rumour mill is to be believed, with The Mirror claiming a £30 million offer for the Netherlands international could be on the way from Old Trafford. The Dutch stopper has been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League since the start of the last season after his move to the south of the border from Scottish champions Celtic.
Van Dijk is a gem of a player and his stocks are quite high right now considering Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested in his signature although some would say Liverpool being linked with a Southampton star is hardly a surprise.
In the last few years, Southampton have been the breeding ground for some of the biggest talents in the Premier League and also the poaching ground for the bigger clubs. Liverpool have made the most number of raids on the Saints but the Red Devils are not far behind. After Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin, van Dijk can very well be the next big capture for United from the South Coast club.
Van Dijk is a defender who possesses each and everything that a defender dreams of having. The Dutch international has nine man of the match awards since the start of the 2015-16 season and was awarded the Southampton Player of the Year last season. With his gigantic frame of 6 ft 4 in, he excels in the air which is evident from his 3.8 aerials won every game.
Nowadays, managers want defenders who have a good eye for a pass be it long or short and van Dijk’s passing ability makes him an even more impressive defender. His passing accuracy this season has been 85.3% while last season it was almost 90%. The Dutchman loves to release his fellow attackers with long passes and has played 5.8 long balls every game this campaign which is very impressive.
Mourinho has rebuked his defenders for their soft defending both publicly and in private and it seems that apart from now injured Eric Bailly, none of the central defenders is particularly rated by the Portuguese. Van Dijk is a strong player both physically and mentally and is a natural leader of the back four. Still only 25, he has his best days ahead of him. It would be one hell of a signing if Manchester United can pull off the signing of the Dutch international.
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