By Alex Stevens

Southampton have identified Kevin Wimmer as a long-term replacement for Virgil van Dijk, according to a report.

The Sun claim that that the Saints are closely tracking £6million-rated Wimmer, whose first-team path at Spurs is blocked by Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier.

It is said that Southampton are preparing to rebuild their defence by prising the Austria international, 24, from White Hart Lane.

This comes amid widespread reports that Liverpool and Everton are keen to sign Van Dijk, who has emerged as one of the outstanding Premier League centre-backs in recent seasons.

The Mirror report that Southampton have slapped a £40million price tag on Van Dijk as interest in the player from rival clubs intensifies.

Wimmer, who joined Tottenham from Cologne in the summer of 2015, played at left-back in last Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea.

But he is predominantly a centre-back, although he is fourth in the pecking order under Mauricio Pochettino.

Wimmer has made such five first-team appearances this season after showing impressive signs during his debut campaign.

Football Insider verdict:

Wimmer has had a difficult start to his second season at Tottenham. He fell behind rookie centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers in the pecking order in the early weeks of the campaign before being overlooked in favour of defender-turned-midfielder Dier when Alderweireld suffered a serious knee injury. This comes after the Austrian impressed while filling in for Vertonghen for two months last season. Wimmer has the qualities to be a mainstay of a Premier League side but he lacks the mobility and authority to push either Alderweireld or Vertonghen aside. His career would be best served by moving to a club where defensive places are less competitive, and where he can expect to be a first-team regular.

In other Tottenham transfer news, Spurs are to make a January approach for a Manchester United 27-year-old.