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Having made an extremely poor start to the Premier League campaign, English outfit Arsenal are now looking to make sure that they have enough quality in their side to fight for trophies this season. This has seen them get linked with some of the finest stars in Europe for a move before the deadline day.
One such player they are reportedly close to sealing a deal for is Southampton star Virgil van Dijk. A top priority transfer target for Liverpool, Van Dijk has already handed in an official transfer request at the St. Mary’s and has been extensively linked with a move to Anfield. But reports from the Sun now claim that Arsenal are closing in on his signature, having met the player’s representatives recently.
The story claims that Arsene Wenger wants Van Dijk to replace German defender Shkodran Mustafi, who is attracting loads of interest from Italian giants Inter Milan. The San Siro outfit is reportedly determined to land Mustafi before the window shuts and Arsenal are keeping their options open, and see Van Dijk as the best option. But is it a change Arsenal should make?
The Dutch international has already established himself as one of the best defenders in England and has been linked with a move to every top club in the country. Southampton are still adamant that he is not for sale but it is believed that a bid in excess of £50m might be enough to land him this summer.
A part of the Van Dijk fee will be recouped by Arsenal if they sell Mustafi but it is not a switch that the Gunners need to make. Mustafi, who joined the club just last summer, showed little nerves on his debut and has established a strong partnership with skipper Laurent Koscielny at the back. The likes of Per Mertesacker, Rob Holding and even Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac are all options for the third defender in a three-man system Wenger seems to be happy to stick with at the moment.
Van Dijk will walk into the first team along with Koscielny but Mustafi is not too far away from him in his defensive traits. Both players are strong in the air and are comfortable with the ball at their feet. If Arsenal decided to hold Mustafi back beyond the deadline day, signing Van Dijk makes little sense, especially at this inflated price.
It will be foolish for the Gunners to let one of the top defenders in Europe leave, just to spend more on a similar player but if they do end up losing the German, Van Dijk turns into a necessity. But at the moment, they should try hard to keep Mustafi at the club than to try and lure Van Dijk to the Emirates.