Southampton have reportedly placed a £45million price tag on Virgil van Dijk, but Man City are plotting a £50million bid.
Saints were ready to stop Van Dijk making a January transfer by demanding more than £45million for the central defender – more than three times the £13million they paid Celtic in September 2015.
The 25-year-old has made rapid progress since his £2.6million transfer to Celtic from Groningen in June 2013 and a host of Premier League clubs, lead by Man City, are understood to be tracking the player
The Saints do not want to lose Van Dijk midway through the season and expect to keep him until the summer but City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton are all monitoring his situation.
But Squawka claim Southampton are adamant the club have no intention of selling Van Dijk in the January transfer window due to the difficulty in signing a potential replacement and have put a price tag on the defender they thought would deter potential suitors.
That appears not to be the case though and secret talks over a move to City have taken place, according to the Daily Mail.
The report claims Van Dijk is aware of City’s interest and City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain is “working on the deal” with City prepared to offer a package worth £50million.
Only last week the Daily Star claimed Southampton had placed a £40million price tag on van Dijk after boss Claude Puel insisted the defender did not have a buyout clause in his contract.
Reports earlier in the month suggested the player had a £25million buy-out clause inserted into his contract.
But when asked about a buyout in the six-year deal Van Dijk penned in the summer, Puel said: “It is not true.”