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26th Dec, 2016 | 6:27am

Koeman singles out PL defender on five-man shortlist for January - report

By Dominic Toner

Everton manager Ronald Koeman is keen on signing Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to a report.

The Sun claim that the Toffees have drawn up a five-man shortlist of transfer targets in the January window, with centre-back van Dijk the priority.

The report details that Koeman is desperate for a reunion with the 25-year-old after working with him at the Saints.

It is understood that Everton are not too optimistic about sealing a deal as Manchester City and Juventus are also chasing the signature of Van Dijk.

The sun report that Manchester United duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay are January targets, while Charlton’s Ademola Lookman and striker Alexander Isak from AIK Stockholm complete the shortlist.

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Van Dijk has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season and has become Southampton’s star player.

The Holland international is a ball winning centre-back, who is also very comfortable in possession.

He moved to St Mary’s in 2015 from Celtic for £13million and has already racked up 62 appearances for the club, with five goals to his name.

Koeman has made a mediocre start since his arrival at Everton as manager and his team are currently ninth in the Premier League table, with their defence looking vulnerable this season.

Football Insider verdict:

Ronald Koeman should do everything to tempt Virgil van Dijk to Goodison Park in January, but a deal for the defender seems unlikely. He would certainly be able to bolster the Everton defence and help the club keep more clean sheets. Koeman should try use his leverage of knowing the player to secure a deal and make him the club’s big money signing in January. However, he has been linked with a mega move away and may not see Everton as a big enough step up for him. The Toffees would be sending out a huge statement if they persuaded Van Dijk to join and he would give the club a chance of securing a European spot. Van Dijk matches the philosophy of Koeman and would fit perfectly into his starting XI, he will need some major convincing to sign though.

In other Everton transfer news, the club are set to rival a Premier League club for a 21-year-old defender.