In Focus: Chelsea ready to offer defender in Van Dijk deal; could tempt Southampton

According to reports in The Sun over the weekend, Chelsea could use defender Nathan Ake in part of a deal to sign Southampton captain Virgil van Dijk this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Saints centre-back has become one of the most coveted players in the Premier League following a number of fine performances at the back during his 18 months with the south coast club.

The Dutch defender has previously been linked with a move to Manchester City, but with the rumours suggesting that Southampton would demand more than £50m for their star man, who has been out of action since January because of injury, the Blues are ready to instead offer a cash-plus-player deal involving Ake.

Would Southampton want Ake?

Interestingly, they probably would.

The 22-year-old impressed during a loan spell at Bournemouth in the first half of this season, but after returning to his parent club and struggling to get minutes thanks to the dominant performances of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta at the back for the Premier League leaders, Antonio Conte could choose to let him leave in the summer.

If Saints were to get a lot of money plus a player that would be able to drop straight into their backline, it would certainly mean that they are more prepared to do a deal for Van Dijk.

How big a coup would the addition of Van Dijk be for Chelsea?

It would be huge.

While they have been relatively strong at the back this season, rivals such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have looked weak in defence and they should all be looking to bring in a player of the quality of Van Dijk, who regularly shows his leadership, dominance in the air and his quality on the ball.

However, if Chelsea were to win the race for his signature, it would strengthen their side and severely dent the chances of the other sides that are chasing the Premier League title.

What’s the verdict?

It’s hard to say until we see how Van Dijk recovers from his injury in the closing stages of the campaign.

Southampton have reiterated that they want to keep their best players at St Mary’s, but of course we have seen that all before.

Come the summer, it certainly seems to be a case of watch this space.


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