Former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux has claimed that Southampton centre-back Virgil Van Dijk would have a fight on his hands to force his way into Antonio Conte’s starting eleven, report the Daily Star.
If anyone is qualified to share their opinion on this particular subject matter, it’s Le Saux. The ex-England international made 188 Premier League appearances across stints with both Chelsea and Southampton. He knows what he takes to play for both sides, and it’s for that reason that he has issued this warning to Van Dijk.
According to the Daily Star, Stamford Bridge was a potential option for the Dutchman in the summer transfer window as he looked to force his way out of the Saints. However, the move never materialised and he was stuck at St. Mary’s.
It remains to be seen whether the Premier League champions will re-enter the race to secure Van Dijk’s services, but Le Saux has suggested that he ought to move elsewhere. The Daily Star quote Le Saux, who says:
“If Chelsea are to carry on with playing a back three then they need top quality players in those positions but Cahill, Luiz and Azpilicueta are all having decent seasons so far.”
“In addition, Christensen has done well having come through the ranks so I think Van Dijk would have quite the fight on his hands in trying to displace those players from the starting XI.”
Van Dijk is undeniably one of the best defenders in the country, but Le Saux is right, the need for reinforcements in that department is not desperate. We ought to focus our resources elsewhere, he may well be better off joining a side where he is guaranteed game-time.