Although centre back Virgil van Dijk has been out of actiob for Southampton since January due to injury, the Saints' defence has continued to perform among the best in the Premier League. Their 36 goals conceded in 28 matches are the seventh best in the division, tied with top four contender Arsenal.
This has lead Chelsea to raise interest in not only Van Dijk but also in former Blues left back and Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand. And now, according to a report from the London Evening Standard, the Blues have added a third Southampton defender to our summer transfer shortlist, right back Cedric Soares.
Soares arrived at St. Mary's Stadium from Portuguese club Sporting CP in 2015 for just £4.7 million, and has since then been a regular feature on the right flank of Saints' lineups. Chelsea apparently see the 25-year-old as a good candidate not only to add depth to the right wing-back position, but also to compete for a starting spot with Victor Moses.
The Standard claims Barcelona are also interested in Soares, but Southampton are obviously not quite ready to sell all of their defenders. With Van Dijk also attracting interest from Manchester City, Chelsea could face stiff competition for any of our trio of Saints targets.
Depending on price, Cedric (or someone like him) could be a smart addition the squad, giving Conte more options on the right flank. But given Southampton's unwillingness to have their defence taken apart in just one transfer window, coupled with a contract that is set to run out only in June 2020, Cedric probably would unfortunately not be a cheap option.