Three players who could replace Virgil van Dijk at Southampton

Virgil van Dijk of Southampton reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Norwich City and Southampton at Carrow Road on January 7, 2017 in Norwich, England.

Virgil van Dijk has requested a transfer and is expected to leave Southampton soon - here are three Premier League players who could replace him.

Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk walks from the pitch at half time in the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor in Burnley, north...Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk has been subject to a summer-long transfer saga, mainly involving Liverpool which has featured managerial statements, a public apology from the club and a statement from the player himself. 

Liverpool are reportedly still interested, and are said to be relaunching a £60m bid for the centre-back, according to The Telegraph.

Not only is the Dutch international a quality defender, but he is also the best player at Southampton. He will be a huge loss. So here are three centre-backs The Saints could try and fill the gaping hole with:

Shane Long of Southampton (L) and Ben Mee of Burnley (R) battle to win a header during the Premier League match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor on January 14, 2017 in Burnley,...

Ben Mee - Burnley

With the hype surrounding central defensive partner Michael Keane last season, Ben Mee went completely under the radar. However, that should not have been the case. 

The 27-year-old was integral to Sean Dyche's side, starting 34 times as Burnley secured Premier League status by finishing in 16th place. 

No defender in the Premier League blocked more shots last season(44), and only Bournemouth's Steve Cook (354) made more clearances than the 27-year-old's 298. 

Add that to a massive 3.7 aerial duels won per game and it is astounding there hasn't been more interest. Mee's resilience could be exactly what Southampton need.

Phil Jones of England in action during the International Friendly match between France and England at Stade de France on June 13, 2017 in Paris, France.

Phil Jones - Manchester United

Looking further up the ladder, Phil Jones could represent an option of a player experienced at the highest level. There is no doubt Southampton would love to have the 21-times capped England international.

Jones has fallen down in the pecking order at Manchester United, the £30m signings of Eric Bailly (as per The Independent) and Victor Lindelof (reported by The Telegraph) in successive seasons almost guarantee Jones a substitute birth, not to mention England colleague Chris Smalling.

Southampton could promise Jones first-team football, especially when the 25-year-old will have his eyes on securing a spot in England's 2018 World Cup squad.

Troy Deeney of Watford scores his sides second goal as Jonny Evans of West Bromwich Albion attempts to stop him during the Premier League match between Watford and West Bromwich Albion at...

Jonny Evans - WBA

Another player with Manchester United links, Jonny Evans has gone from strength to strength since leaving Old Trafford and joining West Brom - enjoying the most consistent two years of his entire career.

Tony Pulis would be reluctant to sell his best defender and captain, but the notion of making a step up and aiding Southampton's challenge to obtain European football could be very tempting for the 29-year-old.

With 61 international appearances for Northern Ireland and an education at Manchester United that saw him claim 10 major trophies, Evans' experience would be a huge asset for The Saints - especially when integrating the youth system as they do.

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