Competition looms for Arsenal from West Ham in their quest to sign Celtic and Netherland’s Virgil van Dijk, according to talkSPORT. The £7m rated centre back has been reported as a January target for Sam Alladyce’s West Ham United making it a two horse race for the Dutchman’s signature. It has now become a case of the club that desires the defender more and the player’s desired destination. Van Dijk, who joined Celtic from Groningen in 2013 in a deal worth about £2.6m for a 4-year duration, is being scouted by West Ham and Arsenal though he still has about 3 years to run on his contract. He was part of the Celtic defence that went 1,215 minutes without conceding a goal, breaking the 43-year-old record in Scotland set by Aberdeen’s keeper, Bobby Clark and he has won the Celtic’s Player of the Year once since joining the Scottish giants in 2013.
Arsene Wenger’s failure to bring in a central defender to replace Thomas Vermaelen sent some panic among the teeming Arsenal supporters who were well aware of the fact that only 6 senior team defenders are available for selection for the Gunners before January when the manager would have another window of opportunity to strengthen his side. Arsenal became short numerically defensively after the departures of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona and the permanent move to Hamburg by Johan Djourou, who had spent last season on loan at the Bundesliga club. Carl Jenkinson also, was loaned to Sam Alladyce’s West Ham United and these departures got Arsenal linked to a number of defenders. Now, of the 6 available defenders this season, only 5 are fit as Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out till January, while Laurent Koscielny has been playing with and Achilles problem and Kieran Gibbs is injury susceptible.
In competition with West Ham United, many would easily think that the lure of UEFA Champions League football would make Arsenal edge the Hammers, but the prospect of first team football could make a move to West Ham more likely. Arsenal would look to bring in the player as a quality back-up to Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker and he would only get opportunities to play during Cup games and whenever any of the central defensive pair is injured. However, the 23-year-old would walk straight into the Sam Alladyce’s West Ham and would enjoy a regular time as a first team player in the English Premier League and domestic games in England. Arsenal by all means is a bigger club by virtue of Champions’ League status and financial status but if the nonchalant and sometimes lack of desire demonstrated by Arsenal in the past regarding player’s transfers is anything to go by, then even the smaller clubs can beat Arsenal to any player available.
The hope for many Arsenal fans is that the current injury problems in the defence would force Arsene Wenger to sign a centre back in January and Virgil van Dijk is no doubt, a very cheap and quality option to buy in January.