As a "Secret Santa" present among Southampton players, Van Dijk cheekily received a Manchester City shirt amid growing speculation of a January move to the Premier League giants.
Pep Guardiola's City are reportedly preparing a bid in the region of £50million to lure the 12-time Netherlands worldwide to the Etihad Stadium. He is an important player for us and for the team. But maybe next week we're going to change and realise we need something special in one position to have one more player in that position, where maybe we do not have too much, especially in the full-backs.
Van Dijk's current contract with Southampton runs until the end of the 2022 season, making the situation even more complicated for the suitors of the player and sending the asking price for acquiring the services of the player even higher. "It's the first time in his career he has played every three days - it had never happened before with the Champions League and the League Cup".
"If you ask me today about signings then no". The 22-year-old continues to face criticism for taking risks in defence, despite Guardiola urging his defenders to play the ball out from the back.
City looked far more secure without Stones in the wins over against Watford and Arsenal when Guardiola reverted to an orthodox back four and they conceded only one goal.
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Nelson , though, has been doing this all season, from the moment he stepped back on the field following last year's ACL injury. He's throwing on rhythm, manipulating the pocket when necessary and giving his receivers chances on contested throws.
Guardiola says he is happy with the centre-backs at his disposal and that nothing untoward should be read into the fact that John Stones has missed the past two games, both of which resulted in City victories.
"Of course he must improve like [Nicolas] Otamendi must improve, like [Aleksandar] Kolarov must improve and like Vincent [Kompany] is coming back. When you play in the big teams, the character is there". All of them have quality and the (big) difference is the personality, how they react in the bad moments.
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. Every three days you have to be focused. I know that people think if a player doesn't play it is because the coach doesn't trust him anymore.
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent.