?Southampton have hinted that they intend to keep centre-back Virgil van Dijk beyond the close of the transfer window despite confirming the signing of defender Wesley Hoedt from Lazio.
The Saints completed the £15m deal for the Dutch international on Tuesday night, with some suggesting that he was brought in as a potential replacement for Liverpool target Van Dijk.
But comments from the club’s vice chairman suggest that Hoedt has been signed to provide another option in defence.
Virgil van Dijk has been training with Southampton Under-18’s. Club position: not for sale. Nine days left in window. #SSN
— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 22, 2017
“Finding a naturally left-footed player is even more difficult,” said Reed, quoted by ?the Liverpool Echo. “We have been tracking central defenders on our target list for the past 12 months and Wesley has always been at the top of that list, so it was important to act when the opportunity came.
“Wesley has proven his talent through his performances for Lazio, as well as the Netherlands, and we believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk, as well as the likes of Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos.
“With Wesley joining those players, we believe we have the right amount of quality, depth and flexibility at centre-back to help us achieve our aims this season.”
Hoedt added: “I’m really happy to be here. I think Southampton is a really big club, so it’s a good next step for me to come here and to play in the Premier League and try to help the best I can.”
Van Dijk has been repeatedly linked with Liverpool, as well as Chelsea and Manchester City this summer, and handed in a transfer request earlier this month.