Football

Van Dijk dons City's blue

It's the season of giving but what Virgil van Dijk got from Secret Santa will certainly set tongues wagging.

Jose Fonte, his partner in Southampton's central defence, took to Instagram on Saturday to post photos of his teammates wearing their Secret Santa gifts.

There was a leprechaun and a Ninja Turtle in the mix, but van Dijk wearing a Manchester City shirt was the one that would have set off the alarm bells in certain quarters.

The Dutch defender has been linked with a move to Pep Guardiola's side and Chelsea, with the Saints reportedly holding out for a transfer fee of 
£50 million (S$88.9m).

Southampton boss Claude Puel has insisted that he would not allow the 25-year-old to leave, though.

He said in a press conference on Friday: "For Virgil, the price would be the same in two or three years and he can stay two or three years with us.

"He's an important player for us, for the team, with a good spirit.

CHARACTER

"For me, also, with Jose Fonte and Steven Davis, he is a captain of the team because he has a good personality, strong character, quality. Of course, he will stay with us."

The centre back has been in fine form this season, playing in every Premier League game.

He has said he remains happy at Southampton, but has ambitions of playing at the highest levels. He said: "I have ambitions like everyone else. I want to get the maximum out of myself as a player."

Southampton are seventh in the Premier League table, and will host Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday morning (Singapore time). - WIRE SERVICES

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