Ronald Koeman sets summer sights on Virgil van Dijk

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Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has reportedly  identified Celtic's Virgil van Dijk as a possible replacement for loan star Toby Alderweireld.

The Daily Mail reports that the Dutch manager has had scouts watching his countryman in action against Inter Milan in last week's Europa League clash.

With Toby Alderweireld being linked to Manchester City this week it is thought that Van Dijk would replace the Belgian at Southampton if he does not join them permanently ahead of next season.

Alderweireld interest

Although currently sidelined with an injury sustained during the 1-0 win over Manchester United, Alderweireld has been one of the Saints' star performers this season.

His impressive displays have seen him linked to Premier League champions Manchester City and the Mail also reports that the Belgian's parent club Atletico Madrid have the option to cancel the Saints' option to buy for £1.5million.

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That could spark a bidding war for the star who has Champions League and Europa League experience and has starred in the Premier League this term.

Van Dijk replacement

If Alderweireld does not become a Southampton player on a permanent basis, they could turn to Van Dijk as an alternative.

The 23-year-old has interested Arsenal, Everton and Sunderland in recent times, but Koeman could steal a march by making an offer this summer.

Celtic are reported to want up to £10million for the ever-improving defender who was part of the team who drew 3-3 with Inter Milan in the Europa League last week.

Dutch contingent

The Southampton manager might be able to persuade the former Groningen man to join the Saints ahead of the a rival due to a native contingent currently at the club.

Whilst Koeman and a number of the back room staff are also from Holland, Van Dijk could have a number of Dutch teammates at Southampton if recent rumours are to be believed.

Eljero Elia is already impressing on-loan from Werder Bremen and the Saints have been linked to Jordy Clasie, Tonny Vilhena, Terence Kongolo and Sven van Beek in recent weeks.

European qualification key

Koeman will know that any deal for Van Dijk is likely to hinge on whether he can offer the player European football next season.

With the 6ft 4in star currently playing Europa League football at Celtic Park, the Saints will need to offer the same as a minimum.

Should they make it into Europe next season, Koeman will be hopeful that a deal for the player would not be too difficult to complete, especially with former Celtic teammate Victor Wanyama still in his ranks as well.

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