• Lazio sporting director Igli Tare confirms that Hoedt will join the Saints "in the near future".
  • Deal could enhance Liverpool's prospects of tempting Southampton into parting company with Van Dijk.
  • Steven Gerrard says such a signing is required for the club to compete on two fronts in 2017-18.

Lazio have confirmed that defender Wesley Hoedt is set to join Southampton in a transfer that could yet have positive ramifications for Liverpool's protracted pursuit of wantaway compatriot Virgil van Dijk.

It was widely reported last week that the Saints had submitted a £15.5m ($19.9m) offer to sign Hoedt, a highly-rated 23-year-old who has already earned four senior international caps for the Netherlands.

Everton were also believed to be pondering the Dutchman as a potential replacement for long-term injury absentee Ramiro Funes Mori, with reports at the beginning of the month suggesting that manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh had scouted him extensively.

However, it appears that the former AZ Alkmaar man will now follow fellow centre-back Jan Bednarek and former Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina as Mauricio Pellegrino's third signing since being named as the successor to Claude Puel in June.

"He requested to be transferred," Lazio sporting director Igli Tare told Premium Sport. "He wants to be a starter in England and will be transferred to Southampton in the near future. He has had a positive experience here in Rome. I wish him all the best."

Sky in Italy claim the deal to take Hoedt to St Mary's will actually be worth approximately £17m and, although many have been quick to stress that he is not being bought as a direct replacement for Van Dijk, such an imminent arrival will nevertheless add further fuel to speculation that Southampton could soften their rigid stance on that ugly saga before the 31 August deadline.

Van Dijk was made to train on his own earlier this summer and found himself omitted from two pre-season trips abroad after voicing his desire to depart amid interest from Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.

The apparently ambitious team captain, who said he felt insulted by claims that he had refused to train, later submitted a transfer request and issued a public statement in which he implored Southampton to "consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist" and expressed his frustration that multiple enquiries had already been rebuffed.

While Van Dijk is said to favour a switch to Anfield, Liverpool will have to tread carefully with regards to that particular case after issuing a public apology in June amid reports that they were about to be reported to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach.

Jurgen Klopp has suggested that he does not necessarily need to recruit a new centre-back during the current window, although Liverpool icon and current Under-18s coach Steven Gerrard evidently views Van Dijk's arrival as an absolute must if the club are to compete successfully on two fronts in 2017-18.

"Yes [he is a necessity]," he told BT Sport of the £60m-rated defender, per the Liverpool Echo. "For me, if you want to compete in the league and in the Champions League [Van Dijk is needed]. It's been well documented that we need two or three signings in."

Van Dijk is now recovered from an ankle injury and a virus, although has yet to feature for Southampton this term.

Wesley Hoedt
Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt is on his way to Southampton