Jose Mourinho’s disappointment with the centre back choices available to him has been broadly reported and now Mourinho and his supporting staffs have targeted Van Dijk as the solution to toughen their backline up and bring leadership into the defense.
Mourinho wants to strengthen his defence line, having conceded 16 goals in their 13 matches in all competitions. The United boss is accepted to be baffled by what he sees as an absence of aggression and leadership as United battle for consistency this season. A long-term injury to his impressive new signing Eric Bailly from Villareal has also made it difficult for him.
It is understood that the Portuguese have assembled a number of options for the January transfer window, with £30m-rated Dutchman Van Dijk at the top.
Since his transfer to the Saints from Celtic in summer of 2015, Virgil van Dijk has consistently developed as a commanding ball-playing centre back. The player also went ahead to win Southampton’s 2015/16 Player of the Year in his first season for the club.
Mourinho supposedly thinks his defence is fragile and do not have the compactness that the Portuguese needs, especially when they concede early in the game.
It is additionally reported that Chris Smalling has come in for strong treatment from the boss at their Carrington preparing complex, with Luke Shaw and Daley Blind given the same as well while Marcus Rojo is likely to be dropped in the near future.
Van Dijk, 25, is viewed as a long haul solution for the Manchester United and he also has the experience of Premier League. The £13 million signing, who joined Southampton from Celtic has been one of the best defenders in the league from the last season as his leadership and aggressive display in front goals for Southampton has not gone unnoticed.
United are also reportedly monitoring Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin with the 31-year-old nearing the end of his contract soon at the Calderon.
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Photo by Ronnie Macdonald