Virgil van Dijk

Chelsea hold “growing belief” in deal to sign Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk

Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk may opt to join Chelsea ahead of Liverpool this summer, after claims of a “growing belief” in a deal.

Van Dijk is high on Jurgen Klopp‘s list of priority targets, with the German seeking to add another leading defensive presence to his ranks for 2017/18 and beyond.

While his second season with Southampton has been derailed by injury, Van Dijk has established himself as one of Europe’s most in-demand centre-backs.

This has led to a host of clubs battling for his signature this summer, and while the Saints have publicly expressed a desire to keep him, they are claimed to value him at £50 million.

Liverpool’s continued interest in Van Dijk despite this lofty price tag underlines Klopp’s ambition, but that still may not be enough.

According to the Independent, Chelsea have made Van Dijk their No. 1 defensive target, as Antonio Conte looks to sign two left-sided centre-backs.

And, crucially, Miguel Delaney claims that “there is a growing belief that the 25-year-old Dutch international favours a move to Stamford Bridge.”

Given Chelsea have already sealed the Premier League title, and will continue to build as they look to reassert themselves in the Champions League, the allure for a player like Van Dijk is clear.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2015: Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is worth taking every report on Van Dijk’s future with a pinch of salt, with all clubs holding a convincing claim to his transfer if particular sources are to be believed.

Some have even attempted to suggest the former Celtic defender is in favour of a move to Anfield after ‘liking’ a post by Netherlands team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum following Sunday’s win at West Ham.

As Liverpool supporters have found with the likes of Willian, Alex Teixeira and Quincy Promes in recent years, social media activity is no indicator of transfer movement.

On the flip-side, the failure to sign that trio, despite intense speculation in the media, is an indicator that deals can change quickly.

If Chelsea hold a “growing belief” in signing Van Dijk at this stage, that could well change if Liverpool secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Klopp has already conceded many of his transfer plans are contingent on the Reds playing Champions League football next season, and a player like Van Dijk will aim for Europe’s elite.

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