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Chelsea facing tough competition for defensive targets Van Dijk and De Vrij — reports

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UC Sampdoria v SS Lazio - Serie A Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

If Stefan de Vrij and Virgil van Dijk ever managed to be healthy and fit at the same time, they just might form the starting defensive duo for the Netherlands national football team (sending former Chelsea prospect Jeffrey Bruma to the bench). As it stands however, given De Vrij’s repeated and significant injuries over the past year and a half, they’ve yet to actually play in a game together.

But they’re both in the Chelsea rumor mill, so there’s that.

According to Italian newspaper Il Tempo (via Football Italia), Chelsea are (still) keen on acquiring the services of the 24-year-old Stefan de Vrij. The Blues face competition from Bayern Munich, though Chelsea had previously approached Lazio with a €25 million offer, which was outright rejected since it happened in the final days of the summer transfer window. Soon after, Lazio set De Vrij’s asking price at €40 million and began negotiations over a contract extension. With a little over a year left on the Dutchman’s deal however, no progress has been made, possibly opening the door for a bid. According to some reports, De Vrij has already made up his mind to leave, which would be a bit harsh on the team that stuck by him during his massive knee injury and recent metatarsal fracture.

Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk is already back in the headlines despite his manager’s recent declaration that the 25-year-old’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The Mail have Chelsea and Manchester City battling it out for the — brace yourselves — £55m-rated defender, if not in January then the summer, though supposedly City are “wary” of Chelsea making a move early and Zerg-rushing a deal through before they could return John Stones for a post-Christmas refund and go shopping again. Or something. In a desperate second attempt to head off more rumors, Saints boss Claude Puel repeated their intent to hold on to Van Dijk in the last few hours. So he’s a goner for sure.