According to reports, Chelsea now have a renewed chance of landing Southampton’s best player Virgil van Dijk as they have tabled a bid of around £60 million for the Dutch centre-half. It also puts them in the driver’s seat with Liverpool forced to take a more conservative approach following Southampton’s complaint.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is desperate to improve his bench before he comes out for the next season. The Italian had a terrific debut in the English Premier League last term as he guided a fallen Chelsea side to yet another Premier League title. However, next season is bound to be tougher as the Blues take part in the Champions League.
Not only will that bring in more hectic midweek fixtures, but it would also need Chelsea more squad depth, something that the Blues absolutely didn’t need last season. Conte was the manager who used the least changed side the whole of last season. The back-three consisting David Luiz, Garry Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta had played almost all games, which won’t be the case next season.
Conte will have to give a considerable amount of rest to his first-choice centre-halves for the crucial European campaign and make sure it doesn’t affect their domestic title challenge either. Players like Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma have been unwilling to sit on the bench and would be looking for chances elsewhere.
They lack the potential to challenge for the first team too, which has forced Conte to look for quality reinforcements up front. And Van Dijk would surely be an upgrade on their current players. The Dutch enforcer has been fantastic for the South Coast club for the past two seasons with his brilliant game reading abilities and superior techniques.
He is one of the best in the business by a good margin and although Southampton haven’t disclosed a price tag on the player, the former Celtic player is believed is worth in the region of £50 million which was touted during Liverpool’s pursuit of him; which makes Chelsea’s offer more than sufficient.
At 25, he is at the peak of his powers, and with Azpilicueta seen more as a left wing-back, he could be a direct break into the team. At 193cm, he is one of the most dominant players aerially and alongside Luiz and Cahill, who are of similar frame, Chelsea would be near impenetrable with his inclusion.
An academy product of Willem II Tilburg, Van Dijk has played for Eredivisie side FC Groningen before Celtic picked him up. Since making his debut in the national side back in 2015, he has earned 15 caps. But with World Cup approaching fast, he has found a big stage to get the needed traction.