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Chelsea make ‘firm bid’ for Virgil van Dijk, hope to wrap up deal by start of season — report

Chelsea’s supposed interest and willingness to bid a massive bundle for Virgil van Dijk has been resurrected for about the third or fourth time this summer. This time it’s the Times who are claiming big things about big bids and big ambitions. Plus a bold timeline to completion of “before the start of the Premier League season next weekend”.

According to Matt Hughes’s report, Van Dijk remains high on Conte’s wishlist and the Chelsea head coach has thus convinced the Board to spend £50m on the 26-year-old defender. Why Conte would need another center back with new signing Antonio Rüdiger and highly promising loan returnee Andreas Christensen bolstering an already solid back three from last season is not explained.

This rumor comes just as showdown talks between Van Dijk and Southampton were set to be held, reportedly at the end of this week. The center back has been made to train on his own for the last three weeks, but Saints are still hopeful of ending the standoff amicably.

Earlier in the summer, Southampton successfully scared off Liverpool with threats of tapping-up charges, though their own relationship with their star defender seems to have deteriorated markedly since as well. So there just might be a chance for Chelsea to engineer a deal here, though the problem Van Dijk was meant to be solving originally has already been solved by the aforementioned Rüdiger — perhaps not as well but solved nonetheless — which makes our continued interest a bit puzzling (especially with other much more pressing needs to address).

Meanwhile, time is running out for completing the new signing that was teased at the start of this week.

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