Reports this morning have linked Spurs with a move for Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk, who is, interestingly, a player on bitter rivals Arsenal’s radar. The Dutchman has been a major hit in Scotland since his switch from Eredivisie side Groningen last year, with many suggesting that he has outgrown football north of the border already and is cut out for the Premier League.
Should Tottenham take the plunge? Is Van Dijk worth the risk? Is keeping him from Arsenal the right thing to do? We think the Londoners probably should swoop, and here are FIVE reasons why…
Even though Celtic boss Ronny Delia has claimed that Van Dijk will not be going on the cheap, it’s unlikely that the Dutchman will cost as much as other options on the market. Offers of around £8m-£10m have been mooted as ‘acceptable’, which places the classy centre-back firmly in Spurs’ price range.
With Tottenham set to have cash to spend in January, luring Van Dijk in for such a figure could leave funds in place for other key additions…
With 21 goals conceded in the league already, Spurs have the leakiest backline in the top half of the table – in fact, relegation zone dwellers Hull have an equal number in the goals against tally. If Tottenham are genuinely after a top four finish, stemming the flow at the wrong end is set to be vital, with Liverpool’s colander-like backline last season proving that keeping the ball out of the net is just as valuable as putting it in at the other end.
Jan Vertonghen, Federico Fazio and Younes Kaboul have all struggled, so Van Dijk could, potentially give them a much needed boost.
Although Vlad Chiriches has been a disaster since his arrival last summer, offloading the Romanian without a replacement in place could leave Spurs light at the back. Should Van Dijk come in, a January loan or a full sale could be a genuine possibility, which will allow the Londoners to cut their losses and get some cash in for him while he still holds a respectable value.
Buying a player just so a rival doesn’t get him may seem a bit ‘Monopoly’ in terms of transfer market tactics, but keeping Van Dijk away from another party could be wise. Arsenal present the most obvious competition, while there have also been suggestions that the likes of Manchester City and even Southampton are all after the 23-year-old. All could benefit from having the Holland ace, so Spurs may need to nip in before to seal the deal.
At 23, Van Dijk should have at least ten years at the peak of his powers ahead of him. Typically, centre-backs mature and enjoy their best spells at around 27 – 30, so the Celtic man is certainly one to think about long-term.
A reasonable fee makes him attractive, with older ‘deadwood’ players potentially possessing values to fund at least half of Van Dijk’s suggested valuation.