Exclusive - Why Chelsea may still be in the box seat to beat Liverpool to the signing of Virgil van Dijk
Chelsea are still in the box seat to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, as Independent.ie understands Southampton are not keen to do a deal with Liverpool for their Dutch defender.
Reports have suggested that Liverpool are reviving their interest in Van Dijk, who was the subject of several illegal approaches from the Anfield club in recent months.
Liverpool apologised to Southampton last month after making a series of illegal approaches for Van Dijk, who are believed to have included a one-on-one meeting with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
That ill-feeling from that embarrassing affair lingers, with Southampton sources telling us they would prefer to do business with alternative clubs if they decide the time is right to cash in on their prized asset.
Southampton continue to insist they do not need to sell Van Dijk this summer, but our information suggests they would consider a deal if the price was right.
Offers in excess of £65m may be considered, with Southampton's using Manchester City's £50m deal to sign John Stones from Everton last summer in their valuation of Van Dijk.
There are suggestions that Liverpool may be willing to pay that inflated price for a player who has let it be known that he has set his heart on a move to Anfield, but Chelsea are also in the mix to sign the centre-back.
There are suggestions in the Italian media that Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci is content to remain in Turin rather than make a move to link up with his old boss Antonio Conte at Chelsea, with Van Dijk the other outstanding option on the Blues list as they look to fill the void left by long-term captain John Terry’s departure this summer.
Meanwhile, it appears that Chelsea are closing in on what would be a world record deal for a defender, with Juventus left back Sandro reported to be close to agreeing a £61m move move to Stanford Bridge.
Brazilian international Alex Sandro is one of the first names on Conte’s transfer target list for this summer and he is keen to see the club make progress on player recruitment before he agrees to sign a new deal to extend his stay as Chelsea boss.
Finally, Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is believed to be close to agreeing a move to join Chelsea, amid suggestions that his arrival at the club will allow Nemanja Matic to be reunited with his old boss Jose Mourinho by moving to Manchester United.