Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool in desperate scrap for centre-back

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We all saw the news on Black Friday, as hundreds upon hundreds of people stampeded through shops looking for the cheapest television they could find without a care in the world for the people they trampled underfoot.

Well imagine that scenario at Celtic Park this January, when the winter transfer window opens up and Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool set about a mad dash to find Virgil van Dijk the quickest.

All three Premier League clubs are on the hunt for a new centre-back in the New Year and have the Dutch 23-year-old at the top of their wishlist.

Whether the Breda native will be on offer as cheaply as the electronic goods that send people stir crazy the day after Thanksgiving is questionable, but a desperate dart for his services is almost guaranteed considering the state of all three clubs’ back lines.

Arsenal’s issue is purely numerical, because for some reason their manager Arsene Wenger has a serious allergy to spending money on defensively-minded personnel.

At times this season, the Gunners, who are 9/4 for a top-three finish, have had to use a variety of full-backs to cover for the absence of Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers.

While Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy have fared well(ish), it’s clear that another natural centre-half is of grave importance at the Emirates.

Not far away, Mauricio Pochettino has plenty of options for his centre-back pairings, but runs into trouble in the fact that not many of them are any good.

Federico Fazio has looked like he’s trying to navigate a maze in the dark using a map of France for help in his short time as a Lilywhite, while Jan Vertonghen is short of form, Younes Kaboul is injury-prone and Vlad Chiriches is unfancied.

Meanwhile, at Liverpool, the 11/2 top-four shots are weighing up whether they bought the right man in the first place, having splurged a wad of the Luis Suarez money on Dejan Lovren, only for the Croatian to repay their faith in blunders and mishaps.

For all three, Van Dijk looks like a potential saviour. The question is, who will get there first?

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.