Virgil Van Dijk missing again as Southampton prepare £60m sale

Wesley Hoedt and Maya Yoshida will play in central defence in the absence of Van Dijk. With Javier Mascherano looking to leave the club after almost seven years with Barcelona, the Catalan giants will lose a key defender. He can tackle well, reads the game well, is an awesome intercepter, comfortable with the ball at his feet and carry the ball out of the defence.

Further up the field on what may be a long afternoon for the Saints, Sofiane Boufal, Nathan Redmond, and Shane Long will be charged with injecting some counter attacking threat into Mauricio Pellegrino's side. The Argentinian has now dropped the defender out of his starting XI. This is the reason.

'I have to decide what's best for the team and around Virgil there has been a lot of speculation, ' he said after the 5-2 loss. "I am responsible for picking 11 players, and I intend to pick the best for the team". We have to wait until January. But Guardiola also believes that Van Dijk has all the tools in his locker to eventually establish himself as a valuable member of the first-team. The Telegraph reports that City want to bring Van Dijk to act as a back-up to Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones.

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It is the second time in successive games the 26-year-old has been omitted from the match day squad, having watched Southampton draw with Huddersfield last week from the stands. Manchester City have reportedly moved ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool in the race to sign the defender, with some reports on Tuesday stating that the Premier League leaders are preparing a £60 million offer.

As potential transfers go, Van Dijk moving to Liverpool is a pretty good gamble to takea chance reporting as an agreed deal, but it doesn't look like everything is agreed with Southampton or the player yet.

  • Tabitha Byrd