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Chelsea reportedly favourites to sign Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk

This isn't the news we like to hear.

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Norwich City v Southampton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Chelsea are the favourites in the race to sign Southampton centre-half Virgil van Dijk, according to The Telegraph.

The report also reiterates rumours Southampton are interested in Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho as a replacement as previously reported here.

It's expected van Dijk will have plenty of big-name suitors this summer, including Premier League clubs Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City, but Chelsea are thought to be leading the race.

With City paying Everton over the odds for John Stones last summer—a whopping £47.5million—van Dijk is expected to court bids in excess of £50million, which would be the highest fee ever paid for a Premier League central defender.

Chelsea have been revitalised under Antonio Conte in the 2016/17 Premier League campaign and are currently running away with the league at this point. With club legend John Terry on his way out of Stamford Bridge, it's thought a quality, ball-playing centre-half is an important purchase for their tactical system this summer.

Van Dijk certainly fits the bill.

The report also states Nathan Ake could move the other way. Ake had impressed for fellow South Coast club AFC Bournemouth until his loan move was cut short by his parent club.