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Chelsea lead the race for Southampton defender

Virgil van Dijk news

Chelsa favourites to land Van Dijk

Football Transfer Centre

Premier League champions Chelsea reportedly hold the advantage in the race to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in the summer.

The Netherlands international had been in fine form for the Saints this campaign before an ankle injury ended his participation earlier in January.

According to The Independent, the Blues remain favourites to sign the Dutchman ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal with manager Antonio Conte eager to integrate the defender into his squad.

The Blues embark on a Champions League campaign after a one-year lapse next term, and they will seek to progress deep into the competition under the guidance of Conte.

Van Dijk is eager to play regular first-team football wherever he is next season, and this is something Conte will have to resolve with Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill having cemented their berths at the heart of the defence.

Preferably, Azpilicueta could be switched to the right wing-back role in order to entertain the arrival of the £50m-rated star at Stamford Bridge.