Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal scouts to continue monitoring Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk ahead of a potential January transfer bid, reports The Daily Mail.
The Gunners remains short of numbers in defence after Wenger failed to make an addition on transfer deadline day. A late enquiry for Van Dijk failed to materialise into a concrete offer and now Arsenal are stuck with just three centre-backs.
Despite seeming oblivious to Arsenal's vulnerability at the back, Wenger is keen to rectify the situation in the January transfer window and has told scouts to continue to track the progress of the Holland international between now and the new year. More impressive performances could convince Wenger to make an offer.
Wenger is thought to be considering a number of defensive targets to move for in the January transfer window, but Van Dijk is currently a serious contender to become a Gunner.
Deadline day failures
Although Wenger's £16 million move for Danny Welbeck was considered a success, his failure to land defensive cover was lamented by fans and pundits alike. However, it was not through lack of trying that the Gunners boss failed.
Arsenal reportedly made late moves for Manchester City centre-back Matija Nastasic and Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar but came out empty handed on both counts. There was also rumoured interest in West Ham's Winston Reid.
The reluctance of Wenger to sign a defender earlier in the summer may have baffled some, but the meteoric rise of Calum Chambers goes some way to explaining it.
The £16 million summer arrival has proven to be more than competent for the Gunners thus far at centre-back and can also operate and right-back and defensive midfield.
Signing a new defender would block Chamber's route to the first team and possibly stunt his development. Always one to develop talent, Wenger has shown a tremendous amount of faith in the 19-year-old by not signing someone.
Van Dijk future
Van Dijk is highly rated in the Scottish Premier League and has been tipped to make the move to a top European league in the near future. However, it remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old would accept a move to the Gunners if it meant a considerable reduction in his playing time.
Rio Ferdinand is one may who has been convinced by Van Dijk's ability.
He is quoted in the same report as saying: "He is cool, calm and collected in defence. Virgil always appears relaxed and it looks as if there is another gear in there.
"His time for moving will definitely come at some point but look, he's in the Holland squad this week while playing for Celtic, so it can't be too bad for him."