Manchester United and Chelsea will reportedly go head-to-head in a transfer war for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk who has a £25m release clause.
The Dutch international has been impressive for the Saints since his move from Celtic in September last year, and in turn his form has attracted the attention of the top Premier League clubs.
According to The Times, both United and Chelsea are ready to battle it out for his signature, but will of course have to break the resolve of Southampton who will be desperate to keep hold of the 25-year-old.
The Saints have consistently lost their best players in recent years but have shown a remarkable ability to keep rebuilding and continue to consolidate their place in the English top flight and make progress.
However, losing key pieces such as Van Dijk and captain Jose Fonte, who is also mentioned in the report as another player who could possibly move on in January, would be a massive blow for Claude Puel and his squad.
United and Chelsea’s respective needs for defensive reinforcements are clear, as the former have struggled in that department so far this season with injuries and poor form costing Jose Mourinho.
While it doesn’t appear to be such a priority for Antonio Conte given his side’s defensive record in the last eight games, the Italian is reportedly still keen to strengthen and add depth with other options including the likes of John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic not getting any younger.
It won’t be cheap though for either club if they wish to sign Van Dijk, as according to The Mirror, the Dutch international has a £25m buy-out clause in his contract.
Given the current landscape and recent transfer fees around Europe, that’s arguably a decent asking price given how well the Saints ace has done in England so far. As a result, Southampton may well have to brace themselves for offers in January.