Chelsea have reportedly beaten rivals Arsenal to the signing of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, offering Andreas Christensen as a deal sweetener.
Both sides are set to look for defensive reinforcements this summer to bolster their respective backlines, and it appears as though they both settled on the Saints captain to fill the role.
However, according to The Sun, Southampton have been tempted to accept Chelsea’s offer as Christensen has impressed during his loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach and would seemingly be a welcome addition to replace Van Dijk next season.
Meanwhile, it’s added that Arsenal have been snubbed despite offering him a £150,000-a-week+ contract which would have made him one of the highest-paid players at the Emirates, and that will undoubtedly leave Arsene Wenger bitterly disappointed as he looks to strengthen his squad after a disappointing campaign this year.
Nevertheless, it looks as though Chelsea will win the race for the £50m-rated defensive ace, and it will be crucial for Antonio Conte to continue to bring in new faces to add quality and depth ahead of taking Chelsea back into the Champions League.
With Branislav Ivanovic leaving the club in January, coupled with John Terry’s exit this summer, the defence is certainly an area that needs addressing. It seems as though the Italian tactician has his reservations about Kurt Zouma while Gary Cahill isn’t getting younger, and so the need to sign a defender was becoming apparent.
Van Dijk will undoubtedly be an astute signing given his commanding displays for Southampton, as he will bring experience, leadership and solidity to the team to further strengthen a backline which has conceded just 29 goals in 34 games in the Premier League this season.