Mauricio Pellegrino, Manager of Southampton looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on November 29, 2017 in Manchester, England.
Speculation over the future of Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk has started to re-surface as the January transfer window draws closer.
The defender failed to secure a move to Liverpool last summer after months of speculation with the Anfield club set to test Saints resolve once again. According to the Sun, Liverpool will face competition for his signature from Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola is keen to bring in another defender as he'll be without John Stones for around six weeks and is concerned with Vincent Kompany's injury troubles.
With that in mind, it would be wise for Southampton to prepare for the worst and look at potential replacements given that the 26-year old made his intentions clear about leaving back in the summer.
Van Dijk is a leader, organiser and also their most talented defender and they'll be looking for someone of a similar mould. Below are players who could fit the bill:
Should Southampton want Premier League experience, Jonny Evans would be perfect for them. The West Bromwich Albion captain has played over 200 games in England's top flight and has three Premier League winners medals to his name. He's valued at around £30m but according to ESPN, Saints would face competition from Everton which means acquiring him will be difficult especially as Manchester City are also keen.
Jonny Evans of West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns on November 28, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.
Chris Smalling and Daley Blind
Manchester United may also have a couple of replacement options for Southampton. Chris Smalling started the season further down the pecking order at Old Trafford and was almost sold in the summer according to the Telegraph but recent injuries to Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have seen him given an opportunity which he has grasped and he's played terrifically in recent matches. He is more likely to remain at United although should Jones and Bailly return before January, Mourinho may cash in if the price is right.
Daley Blind and Chris Smalling of Manchester United of Manchester United warm up prior to during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad...
Southampton may want another Dutchman and that could be Daley Blind. The Daily Express report that Mourinho is looking to sell the former Ajax man. Blind has played a number of games at Centre-half under Mourinho and played almost the entire 2015-16 season their under Louis Van Gaal. He's made just four league appearances this term and could be on his way out. Blind would play alongside Dutch team-mate Wesley Hoedt if he was to move to Saints.
Ezequiel Garay of Valencia reacts during the La Liga match between Valencia and Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on November 26, 2017 in Valencia, Spain.
Should Pellegrino want to look abroad and be a bit more ambitious, they could target Ezequiel Garay from Valencia CF given they'll have the cash to attract a player of his ilk. Pellegrino's compatriot has helped the Spanish club to second in La Liga so far this season and it would be a real statement of intent if they were able to bring him to St Mary's. The 31-year-old has 32 caps for Argentina and has also represented Real Madrid, Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg.