Virgil van Dijk won’t be moving to Manchester City when the January transfer window opens, according to Pep Guardiola.
Van Dijk, 25, has impressed since he moved to Southampton 18 months ago and has been linked with a £50 million move to the Etihad. The Netherlands international was even pictured in a City shirt this week after being gifted the jersey by a “Secret Santa” teammate at St Mary’s.
City have struggled defensively so far but Guardiola says the only time he will see Van Dijk this season is when his side faces Southampton on April 15.
“Next month, Van Dijk here? We’re going to Southampton to play against them. He’s not going to come here next month. Impossible,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City’s game with Hull City on Monday.
“He’s a Southampton player and we don’t want him now. We’re going to Southampton to play against them, that’s sure.”
However, Guardiola hasn’t ruled out making a January signing and said he may consider signing a full-back when the transfer window opens.
Asked about adding to his squad, the Spaniard said: “If you ask me today, no. But maybe next week we’re going to change and we realise we need something special in one position to keep one more player in that position, especially in the full-backs. But the other positions we are quite happy.”
City have been without captain Vincent Kompany for much of the season through injury and they have missed the Belgian’s experience and composure.
But Guardiola says he has confidence in John Stones, who has been left out of City’s last two games after enduring a tough time in the 4-2 defeat to Leicester City earlier this month.
“It’s the first time in his career he played every three days — it had never happened before with the Champions League and the League Cup and every three days you have to be focused,” Guardiola said. “He played a lot. If I didn’t have confidence in him he would not have played the games that he played.
“Of course he must improve like [Nicolas] Otamendi must improve, like [Aleksandar] Kolarov must improve and like Vincent [Kompany] is coming back.
“He’s young, he has to improve but he’s open and he has a lot of personality. When you play in the big teams, the character is there.”
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