Vital for Southampton as Van Dijk opts to stay

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has decided to stay at the club next season, despite attracting plenty of interest from elsewhere, according to the Daily Star.

What’s the word?

The 25-year-old was a regular feature in the transfer gossip pages during the January window, but a move failed to materialise.

The Saints were always going to stand firm in the Van Dijk situation, particularly after his centre-back partner Jose Fonte left to join West Ham United.

Interest from rival clubs may have waned slightly when he suffered an ankle injury in a win over Leicester City on January 22, keeping him out of action for three months.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have been rumoured as potential suitors for the Dutchman, but the Daily Star reports that Van Dijk has decided to remain at St Mary’s for next season.

The publication claims that when the defender was handed the captain’s armband following Fonte’s exit, it was agreed that he would stay at the club until at least the end of next season.

Is this the right call from Van Dijk?

Being given the responsibility of captain is an honour for any footballer, but receiving offers from high-profile clubs would turn anyone’s head.

According to this latest report, Van Dijk is committed to the Saints, but he could miss an opportunity to take a significant step in his career if he turns down a move this summer.

The defender, who is rumoured to be rated at around £50m, was one of the standout players of the league in his position before he was struck down with injury.

There is no guarantee that he will be as consistent in the 2017-18 campaign, and his chances of potentially playing in Europe have gone.

On the flip side, the former Celtic man is one of the Saints’ key men on the pitch and if Southampton manage to upset the odds in the EFL Cup final against Manchester United, it could kickstart a successful run.