Whether he leaves this transfer window or not, it is highly unlikely we will never see Virgil van Dijk play in Southampton colours again after his summer exploits in trying to force a move away from the club—culminating in his transfer request submitted last week. So, it would make sense for the club to move on by finding a replacement before van Dijk’s eventual transfer to one of the “bigger” Premier League clubs.
According to Il Messaggero and The Sun, Southampton are doing exactly that and are pursuing Dutch centre-half Wesley Hoedt, who is presently plying his trade in the sky blue of Lazio in Serie A.
The latter report from The Sun, posted online earlier in August, stated Southampton had bid £12million for Hoedt’s services. However, Il Messaggero is now reporting Saints have bid up to £15.5million to try and prise Hoedt away from Rome.
Like van Dijk, Hoedt is a Dutch international who relishes in a good aerial battle and is equally comfortable on the ball. Aged just 23, Hoedt has gone on to form a solid defensive partnership alongside compatriot Stefan de Vrij at Lazio, helping the club to a place in the Coppa Italia final and a fifth-place finish in Serie A last season.
The AZ Alkmaar product has also caught the eye of former Saints manager Ronald Koeman at Everton according to The Sun, but Saints certainly require the services of Hoedt a lot more than Everton do at this time.