Southampton’s Van Dijk has chance of facing Manchester United

It has not been the easiest few months for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, but it seems that he is closing in on a return to the first team.

The Dutchman has not started a Premier League game since January after suffering an ankle injury, and his tumultuous situation in the transfer window forced him out of the first-team squad.

The 26-year-old submitted a transfer request in the hope of forcing through a move elsewhere.

Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal were all linked to the centre-back’s signature, but Southampton reiterated numerous times that their top player would not be sold.

The club kept their word, and now the focus is on reintegrating Van Dijk back into the side.

The Dutchman has featured prominently in the Saints’ Under-23 fixtures in recent weeks, and he made the bench for last weekend’s Premier League victory over Crystal Palace.

While speaking to the media, Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino suggested that Van Dijk could return to the side for Saturday’s showdown against Manchester United at St Mary’s.