Chelsea look to make a formal bid for Virgil van Dijk

The Southampton defender had handed in a transfer request last week.

Van Dijk
Southampton's Virgil van Dijk Reuters

Chelsea look to strengthen their squad and are ready to make a formal bid for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to Tom Hopkinson of the Daily Mirror.

It' is understood that the offer will be in excess of £50m, as reported by Bleacher Report, with the Blues ready to rival Liverpool for the centre-back's signature. Manchester City are also said to be keeping an eye on proceedings, with Van Dijk having recently handed in a transfer request.

"But [Antonio] Conte and technical director Michael Emenalo are confident they can tempt the 26-year-old to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, and they will step up their pursuit of him in the coming days," Hopkinson wrote.

Chelsea's defensive play was one of their major strengths last season, although with European football on the agenda at Stamford Bridge this term, they need more depth in the position. Van Dijk, who is one of the best defenders in the division, would be a fine signing.

The Dutchman is rarely beaten in physical battles, while he's also exceptional in distributing from the base of the team. It's easy to see Van Dijk settling into the Blues' three-man defence and making a big impact, although it appears competition for his signature will be fierce.

Chelsea were beaten 3-2 at Stamford bridge on the opening weekend of the Premier League by Burnley, and even though the finished the match with nine men, they found themselves being dominated in the first half. And saw themselves trail 0-3 at half time.

The club's board had also sold defensive mainstay Nemanja Matic to rivals Manchester United, something that had not gone down well with fans. Matic was an instrumental figure in the last two Premier League championship campaigns for the London club.

And as many would have expected, the Serbia international put in a Man of the Match performance on his Premier League debut for the Manchester club as they easily beat West Ham United on Sunday at Old Trafford.

Coming back to van Dijk, Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp is understood to be an admirer of the Dutchman but earlier this summer Liverpool were accused of illegally tapping up the player which led to Southampton reporting them to the Premier League. Liverpool subsequently stepped back, though are in desperate need of a centre-back and are understood to be keen on Van Dijk.