Arsene Wenger says Per Mertesacker will be out for a 'few months'
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker has been ruled out for a 'few months' with a knee injury according to Arsene Wenger (Sky Sports), and the Frenchman must ensure he makes swift moves in the transfer market to guard against the Gunners being left woefully short in defensive areas.
Even before the German's injury central defence was a position that Arsenal needed to strengthen, but now that need has become far more urgent.
Southampton's Virgil van Dijk
An ideal acquisition for the North London club would be Southampton's Virgil van Dijk. Despite the fact that the Dutchman has only recently singed a new six-year contract with the South Coast club, every player has their price, as the Saints have proved on so many occasions to the disappointment of their fans.
The former Celtic man would be a younger, and arguably more accomplished alternative to Mertesacker. Standing at 6 ft 4 in, Van Dijk is equally proficient in the air as the Gunners captain, but is far quicker along the ground. The 25-year-old would not only provide immediate cover for the 31-year-old former Werder Bremen man but he could also turn out to be his long term replacement.
Van Dijk moved to St Mary's last summer in a deal believed to be in the region of £13 million, so any potential transfer bid from Arsenal would have to be fairly substantial for Southampton to even consider it.
The former Celtic man has proven Premier League pedigree
The Dutchman was a mainstay in the Saints defence last term, playing 34 Premier league games and helping his side towards the fifth best defensive record in the league.
He would be a wonderful signing for Arsenal, and the absolute ideal partner for Laurent Koscielny.
With Southampton's history of losing their best players though, whether or not new manager Claude Puel would be willing to let Van Dijk leave is another matter entirely.
The Gunners are listed as second favourites with bookmakers BETVICTOR at 8/1 behind Everton in the race for the Dutchman's signature.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger should seriously consider a move for Van Dijk