Virgil Van Dijk
Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk is considered among the best defenders in the Premier League.

Chelsea’s pursuit of Southampton centre-back Virgil Van Dijk will not be straightforward.

The London Evening Standard report that the Chelsea are interested in signing Van Dijk this summer. The paper believe that the Premier League leaders will face competition in the race to secure his services from Premier League counterparts Manchester City and Liverpool.

The Standard believe that the interest in the Dutchman could drive Southampton’s asking price as high as £50million – but that’s not the only obstacle Antonio Conte will need to hurdle to sign Van Dijk.

The Standard quote Southampton manager Claude Puel, who heaps praise on Van Dijk, and suggests that he will be with the Saints next season:

“Now the surgery is finished he can work normally and be ready for next season – with us. He’s our captain and I have said he is important for us. He has authority, the leadership of the team, he is a fantastic player.”

“It’s important for us, of course, to wait until the beginning of the season to see him on the pitch with Southampton. He has a long contract and the directors want to keep him.”

There doesn’t appear to be any dire need of defensive reinforcements in Conte’s squad. With Andreas Christensen likely to return in the summer, the competition for places at the back will be tough enough without Van Dijk’s arrival.

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