Manchester City Transfer News: Virgil van Dijk Rumours, Latest on Claudio Bravo

Manchester City Transfer News: Virgil van Dijk Rumours, Latest on Claudio Bravo

Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City will reportedly move for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in January should their defensive woes continue.

According to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, City would prefer to keep a settled squad next month, with Gabriel Jesus already set to join up with the team. However, such are their issues at the back, Pep Guardiola’s side may be forced into the market for a new defender.

Law reported that defender may well be Van Dijk, who has enjoyed an exceptional season so far for Saints. Everton and Chelsea are also said to be keen on landing the Netherlands international, who is valued at a whopping £40 million by his club.

The 25-year-old would certainly improve City’s defensive structure if they were able to get a deal done in January. Here is a look at how Van Dijk compares to John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi in league matches this season:

Defender Comparison: Van Dijk, Stones, Otamendi
Apps (Sub) 16 12 (1) 12
Goals 0 0 0
Tackles per game 1.9 1 2.7
Interceptions per game 2.6 1.8 3
Clearances per game 7.1 4.2 6.7
Blocks per game 0.8 0.5 0.3
Aerial duels won per game 4.6 1.8 4.9
Passing Accuracy 84.3% 90.5% 85.9%

After a solid first year at Southampton following a move from Celtic in 2015, Van Dijk has kicked on brilliantly in 2016-17.

Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Van Dijk has blossomed into one of the best defenders in the division.

The centre-back has been a colossal presence at the base of the Saints team. Physically, he’s rarely bettered and in the air he’s a dominant force. Additionally, Van Dijk has also showcased sharp defensive instincts around the penalty area and an ability to time tackles.

Also, something that would certainly appeal to Guardiola, Van Dijk is a very capable distributor of the ball. These numbers from Squawka Football prove that:

The defensive side of the team is certainly an area City could do with reinforcements in. There are questions marks over Stones, Otamendi and captain Vincent Kompany as things stand, while Guardiola only has ageing options to call upon in both full-back spots.

The Etihad Stadium outfit need to remodel their defence and a player like Van Dijk would be a superb starting point.


Claudio Bravo Happy at City


According to Guardiola, City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is enjoying life at the club despite reports to the contrary.

The Chile international has been under major scrutiny since his move to the Etihad Stadium, as he’s struggled to showcase the form that made him so popular at Barcelona. However, when asked about reports in Spain suggesting the 33-year-old was unhappy, Guardiola insisted that’s not the case.

“I didn’t read that,” the City manager said of the stories, per PA Sport (via ESPN FC). “I spoke with Bravo in the last days, with his wife and their little daughter. He told me he is so happy.”

PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

On the pitch, Bravo has cut an isolated figure at times. While he’s showcased a tremendous ability to distribute the ball, his basic goalkeeping duties haven’t been carried out with conviction. ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden believes his uncertainty is now having an impact on the rest of the side:

It’s true that when a goalkeeper looks nervous, that hesitancy can debilitate the rest of the team. But one of the main motivating factors for bringing Bravo in at City was supposed to be his composure at the base of the team.

Despite being an experienced player, it will take Bravo some time to adapt to a new club and division. Guardiola evidently has a lot of faith that his goalkeeper will come good and City supporters will be hoping he finds his best form while they remain in the Premier League title picture.