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Everton, Newcastle battle for Groningen defender Virgil van Dijk

Everton and Newcastle United are chasing Groningen defender Virgil van Dijk.

The Mirror says Groningen's decision to let Van Dijk talk to ­English clubs will spark a hotly contested race that Everton and ­Newcastle currently lead.

Both clubs considered January bids for the 21-year-old centre-back and have maintained a strong interest by having the player regularly watched. Swansea, Southampton, Reading and even Manchester United have also scouted Van Dijk over the past year.

Liverpool could enter the bidding, with ­manager Brendan Rodgers in the market for new defenders at the end of the season and looking closely at the Dutch market.

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Tribal Football Staff

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