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Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk.

Why Liverpool are confident they will beat Man City & Chelsea to Virgil Van Dijk signing

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While Antoine Griezmann looked like he was going to be the major transfer story of the summer before Atletico Madrid's transfer ban was upheld, it seems Virgil Van Dijk has inherited that tag.

The Southampton centre-back is the top-level defender plenty of Champions League-bound sides require and he is proven to get it done in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old has set off a three-horse race for his services between Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, the latter of whom was thought to have stolen a march over the weekend.

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It was reported over the weekend that City were willing to shell out £60 million and wages of £200,000-a-week for Van Dijk - astronomical numbers by any stretch of the imagination.

However, according to the Liverpool Echo, both Chelsea and the Reds are primed to match any financial package that City can put together.

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If it comes down to who Van Dijk would prefer to join, which club is he likely to pick?

The Echo reports that Liverpool believes money will not be the decisive factor for the towering centre-back and they have been encouraged by the feedback received from Van Dijk's representatives.

Of course, that could be a ploy to drive up the interest in Van Dijk and thus his price - his representatives could be telling all clubs that.

Norwich City v Southampton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

Or, if we take that at face value, Liverpool appear to be in pole position for the in-demand defender and, providing they match the asking price, a huge signing awaits.

Meanwhile, Saints manager Claude Puel hadn't given up on the prospect that Van Dijk might remain on the south coast when he spoke at the end of the season.

"Virgil had a bad injury, but now it’s okay, his surgery is finished and he can work normally and go into the gym for rehabilitation and come back next season with us ... with us!

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"He's our captain and he’s important for us," Puel added. "He's matured and taken leadership on the team; he’s a fantastic player we know well.

"He’s important for us and now, of course, we will wait to the beginning of the season to see him on the pitch with Southampton.

"He has a long contract and the directors will want to keep him."

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