Everton boss Ronald Koeman is hoping to use his previous connections with Virgil van Dijk this summer, and bring the sought-after Southampton defender to Goodison Park.
The Dutch manager brought his compatriot south of the border from Celtic to Southampton in a £13m move in 2015, and since then Van Dijk’s stock has risen sharply.
Koeman also knows that his first-choice centre-half pairing of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka boast a combined age of 64 – and that will become 66 in August.
Manchester City and Chelsea are also reportedly interested in the 25-year-old, but Everton will hope that having signed for Koeman once, Van Dijk will do so again this summer.
And the 6ft 4in defender has also recently changed management to the Wasserman Group – according to the Daily Mirror – who also represent the Everton boss.
But Southampton are fully aware of the demand for their star man, and it’s believed the Saints will not consider any offers short of £55m.
That may not be an issue for Chelsea or Man City, but Everton’s record signing stands well adrift of that, at £30m for Romelu Lukaku in 2014.
Nevertheless, our traders say Everton lead the way in the Van Dijk race at Evens.
Chelsea are next at 4/1, with the Citizens priced up at 6s.
Van Dijk was a near ever-present for the Saints this season, until injury ended his campaign prematurely at the end of January.
The Breda-born ace began his career with Eredivisie outfit Groningen, making over 65 appearances before moving to Celtic in 2013.
And his move to Scotland proved successful, helping the Bhoys land two Ladbrokes Premiership titles, plus a Scottish League Cup.
Ladbrokes Latest Betting
Virgil van Dijk next permanent club
Everton – Evens
Chelsea – 4/1
Manchester City – 6/1
Arsenal – 7/1
Liverpool – 9/1
Manchester United – 12/1
Tottenham – 16/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing