CHELSEA are set to hijack Liverpool’s move for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, according to reports.
The Blues will make a £50million bid for the Holland star, 26.
And Antonio Conte is aiming to secure a deal before the new season kicks off, reports The Times.
Chelsea hope Liverpool’s poor relationship with Saints will work to their advantage.
The Reds have signed Southampton’s star players – including Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane – in recent years.
Liverpool issued a grovelling apology to Saints after they threatened to report the Anfield club to the Premier League for allegedly making an illegal approach to Van Dijk.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side are still frontrunners to sign the former Celtic centre-back.
Southampton insist they will NOT sell their star man.
Van Dijk has trained on his own after telling boss Mauricio Pellegrino he wants out of the club.
He is not expected to play against Swansea next Saturday in the first game of the Premier League season due to a lack of match fitness.
Chelsea have already signed defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma for £29m.
The Blues let centre-back Kurt Zouma join Stoke on loan, and sold Nathan Ake to Bournemouth for £20m.
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