Southampton are still unwilling to sell captain Virgil van Dijk but Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea are waiting in the wings if the Saints change their stance.
The 26-year-old Dutchman has been trailed by Liverpool throughout the summer and recently handed in a transfer request in a bid to force his departure.
Van Dijk has been training alone since returning from his summer break but was seen today training with the Southampton U23 side.
Signed from Celtic for £13m in 2015, Van Dijk is now widely recognised as one of the finest central defenders in the Premier League.
Liverpool's defensive frailties are plain for all to see and the Reds will reportedly not seek to make any other defensive additions if they fail to sign Van Dijk.
That means another season of relying on Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan at the back.
Van Dijk trailed by Chelsea
Chelsea spent £35m on Roma defender Antonio Rudiger earlier this summer but are still hoping to add the Dutch Southampton star to to their ranks, as per The Telegraph.
The Telegraph report that Chelsea hope to make three new signings before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Chelsea are yet to submit a bid for Van Dijk but are reportedly waiting to see if Southampton give the green light for his sale.
Meanwhile, Liverpool were forced to apologise earlier this summer after the Saints threatened to report them to the Premier League for tapping up Van Dijk.
Chelsea's clever plan
The Blues are taking a very difference approach to Liverpool in their pursuit of Van Dijk, hoping their respectful pursuit will lead the Saints captain to Stamford Bridge.
The Telegraph's Matt Law writes: "Chelsea have made it clear to Southampton they remain interested in signing £60m-rated Van Dijk, but have also agreed to respect the stance of the St Mary’s club until any point that it changes.
"It is hoped that by taking a soft approach that Chelsea will put themselves first in line to potentially land Van Dijk if and when Southampton’s stance changes, whether that is before the end of this window, in January or even next summer."
Whilst Liverpool's relations with Southampton becomes strained, it appears to be a very logical position for Chelsea to take.
From Southampton's point of view - if they were to change their stance - they are far more likely to accept Chelsea's identical bid if they were to receive two interchangeable offers.
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