Chelsea emerge favourites to seal deal for £50m-rated Liverpool target

Liverpool have been heavily linked with Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk this summer but Chelsea have now expressed interest in signing him and are confident of landing him before their Premier League opening match.

The Dutch centre-back is desperate to leave the Saints this summer and has handed in a transfer request, with Liverpool widely believed to be his next destination.

However, as per recent reports, Chelsea have also entered the race to sign him and believe they could round up a deal for him before their match against Burnley on August 12.

Liverpool have been on the trail of the Holland international all summer that Southampton had to report them to the FA for tapping up the 26-year-old.

Nevertheless, Jurgen Klopp remain keen on bringing him to Anfield to boost his fragile defence.

Southampton have seen Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren moved to the Merseyside in recent seasons and are not willing to lose yet another player to the Red Devils.

And Chelsea believe they could use that to their advantage and lure Van Dijk, adjudged to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League, to Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte has already signed Antonio Rudiger but it is understood that the Italian manager still wants to add van Dijk to Hus already bolstered defence,and Chelsea are said to be preparing a bid of £50 million for him.