Chelsea are reportedly set to make a £50 million bid for outbound Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, after targeting him for months
According to a report by The Mirror, Chelsea are getting ready to table a £50 million bid for Southampton’s star defender Virgil van Dijk and are expected to make a formal move this week. Although Liverpool have been front-runners in the race to sign the Dutchman for a while now, Chelsea have also been in the fray for months.
The central defender handed in a transfer request to Southampton last week, which could be why Chelsea are ready to make a formal move now. Liverpool did mess up the prospect of a potential transfer deal with the controversial tapping-up row, following which they issued an apology to the Saints.
They remain interested but will have to act fast with Antonio Conte now set to make an offer. Van Dijk has been the strongest part of Southampton’s defence ever since he made his way into the club from Celtic back in the summer of 2015.
His performances have helped establish himself as one of the best defenders in the English top flight, so it comes as no surprise that big clubs are fighting it out for his signature.
Jurgen Klopp has been keen on securing the player’s services in an attempt to find a solid partner for Joel Matip, with Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan failing to put up consistent performances which makes it clear that Liverpool need a quality central defender this summer.
As a club that has struggled in set-piece situations, signing van Dijk could be a massive boost, considering his aerial prowess. However, this appears to be a race that Klopp could lose. Earlier reports indicated that Southampton prefer selling van Dijk to Chelsea over Liverpool.
The Blues will clearly have an upper hand now, even though Conte has the services of Antonio Rudiger as well this season. With the German’s arrival, the Chelsea boss now has him in addition to David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen as his central defensive options.
With the Saints’ reluctance to sell van Dijk to the Merseyside club, and with Conte preparing a massive £50 million, things do seem bleak for Klopp. It now remains to be seen if Liverpool can manage to usurp Chelsea in pursuit of the player, or if Chelsea manage to succeed in bringing their fourth summer signing.