By support

1st May, 2017 | 9:40am

Arsenal open preliminary talks to sign proven PL performer - report

By Will Butcher

Arsenal and Manchester City are in preliminary talks over a move to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to a report.

The Daily Star has revealed that both clubs are in contact with the representatives of the £50million-rated Holland international, who has shone for Claude Puel’s Saints this season.

It is believed that Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool are also interested in the 25-year-old star, in what promises to be one of the most intense transfer battles of the summer window.

Former Celtic defender van Dijk is not expected to play for the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury in the 3-0 win over Premier League champions Leicester back in January.

Southampton’s number 17 has caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs after helping his side keep 12 clean sheets in his 30 league and cup appearances for the Saints.

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His commanding aura at the back this season has even seen him wear the captain’s armband, following the sale of previous skipper Jose Fonte to West Ham in the January transfer window.

Van Dijk moved to St. Mary’s Stadium back in the summer of 2015 for £13million and has a contract with the south coast club until 2022.

Football Insider verdict:

With his current form, van Dijk could improve most sides in world football. His form at the back for the Saints has seen him earn a huge £50million price tag, and would prove to be a huge signing for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners. Shkodran Mustafi’s form has been inconsistent since arriving at the Emirates, while Gabriel continues to confuse fans with his displays. Wenger has recently adopted a three-man defence, and bringing in van Dijk will strengthen his options with only Rob Holding currently able to provide cover for Mustafi, Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny. The defender could prove to be the difference between in throwing their hat into the 2017-18 Premier League title race.

In other Arsenal transfer news, the Gunners will win the race to sign this £110million star according to former Invincibles star.

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