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Manchester United Face Competition From Rivals For £40 Million-Rated Defender

Chelsea SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Southampton FC and FC Internazionale Milano at St Mary's Stadium on November 3, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

With Christmas comes the endless transfer rumours ahead of the opening of the January window once the festivities have come to an end.

Southampton boss Claude Puel will be hoping his Christmas wish is granted and he can keep hold of star defender Virgil van Dijk with his continued impressive performances catching the eye of top clubs looking to strengthen.

The Sun reports that no less than four top Premier League clubs are watching the Dutch international with a view to striking a deal for the defender next month.

The report suggests Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are all fighting it out to lure the former Celtic man to their clubs in the knowledge that Southampton are known to sell their star players should the price be high enough, as recent seasons have shown.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Virgil van Dijk (C) of Southampton reacts after Crystal Palace's second goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Southampton at Selhurst Park on December 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are struggling to keep defenders fit with the on/off injuries to Vincent Kompany raising concerns over his ability to continue at the top level. John Stones too has failed to live up to his hefty price tag of £50 million with Guardiola seeing Van Dijk as a possible partner for Stones in the hope of forming a solid base for his side.

Manchester United too are continuing to reshuffle their centre-back lineup with Eric Bailly heading off to the African Cup of Nations next month leaving Mourinho light in defence. While Bailly has been outstanding so far this season, his recent absence through injury has seen both Phil Jones and Marco Rojo grab their opportunity in the first team, with Van Dijk seen as a possible long-term partner for Bailly.

Liverpool perhaps offers the best opportunity for Van Dijk to cement a place in the starting eleven with Jurgen Klopp looking to shore up his erratic defence who despite looking impressive going forward the back line is seen as a major factor in the questions being raised about Liverpool’s true title credentials.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Virgil van Dijk of Southampton (C) celebrates with Sam McQueen (L) and Dusan Tadic (R) after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Southampton FC and FC Internazionale Milano at St Mary's Stadium on November 3, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Currently flying at the top of the table under Antonio Conte, Chelsea playing three at the back could suit Van Dijk with the club looking to replace the long serving captain John Terry as they look to the future.

Having only joined Southampton in the summer of 2015 the Saints would be disappointed to lose the player although they would stand to make a healthy profit on the reported £13 million they paid Celtic.

Southampton fans, however, will be hoping the player remains loyal to their cause.

Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena

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