Reports: Chelsea make £50 million bid for Premier League defender
What’s the story?
Chelsea have hijacked Liverpool move for Virgil van Dijk according to The Times. The Blues have made a 'firm bid' of £50 million for the Southampton defender according to the report.
Liverpool were keen on signing him to strengthen their backline while Chelsea want him as the John Terry replacement in the squad.
In case you didn’t know...
Liverpool have been chasing van Dijk for a long time. Along with Chelsea, they were linked with a move for the defender in January itself. The Dutchman suffered an injury and was ruled out for the season and thus the move was stalled by all parties.
The heart of the matter
Chelsea have stepped up their chase for Van Dijk as talks for Alex Sandro have hit an iceberg again. Juventus are not willing to let go of the Brazilian and have forced Chelsea to make a move elsewhere.
The Dutch defender was a top target for Jurgen Klopp. However, the Red were accused of tapping-up the player by the Saints and the move broke down.
Van Dijk then went on a strike to force a move to Liverpool and was successful in restarting the negotiations between the club. The talks stalled last week after the two clubs failed to agree on a fee.
With the talks stalled, Chelsea have jumped in to take advantage of the situation. The Blues already have David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger to play as centre-backs while Cesar Azpilicueta has been a reliable option too.
However, Antonio Conte is not convinced and wants to add another defender to the squad so that he can push Azpilicueta to the wing-back position ahead of Victor Moses. Apart from Van Dijk, Chelsea are also chasing Inter Milan's 30-year-old Antonio Candreva.
Chelsea's bid is less than what Liverpool reportedly bid for him. The Reds were ready to pay up to £70 million for him – almost £20 million more than what the Blues have bid.
Southampton share a good relationship with Chelsea unlike Liverpool and are said to be 'less demanding' with the London side. Though they might not accept the initial bid, they might eventually end up selling to Chelsea and not Liverpool this summer.
Van Dijk will be a good addition to the Chelsea starting XI but it will affect Christensn's growth. The defender was assured a role in the squad this season but that'll be difficult to fulfil if they add another top centre-back.
However, if Antonio Conte is to replace Gary Cahill in the starting XI, then it will be a very good move!