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What would a £50million move for Virgil van Dijk mean for the Chelsea defence?

Jake Jackman

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Van Dijk

Chelsea are preparing to compete with Liverpool for the signing of Virgil van Dijk and will offer £50 million for the Dutchman, according to The Times.

The Premier League champions are looking to make further additions to their current squad and they have been following the centre-back for a number of months. Antonio Conte has finally convinced the club to make a firm bid and they are confident that a deal could be reached before the start of the new top flight season.

Although Liverpool had been frontrunners for his signature, they annoyed Southampton with their approach directly to the player and that will help Chelsea’s cause. The South Coast outfit are going to be more willing to do business with the champions and that has provided the Blues with the hope that they can seal a deal for the centre-back.

Van Dijk would be a great fit for Conte’s 3-4-3 formation, as he is a dominant defender and comfortable on the ball. This would be a great signing and provide the Blues with further depth at centre-back.

What would this mean for the Chelsea squad?

There is no doubting the quality of Van Dijk. He has proven himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League and he is ready to make the step up to a higher level. It is somewhat surprising that he has yet to be sold this window, but Southampton know the value that he possesses and they are keen to get as much money as they can for the player.

Despite the quality that he does possess, it is difficult to see where he fits into the Chelsea team. If they do bid £50 million, they wouldn’t be eyeing him as a squad player. The Dutchman would be signed as a starter and that would mean one of their existing centre-backs would be pushed out of the side. Van Dijk prefers the left-side, which means that he would either have to be used as the left-sided centre-back or the one in the middle of the three.

This creates problems for David Luiz and Gary Cahill. Although he is the captain, it is more likely that the latter is the one to be replaced. He was a weakness at times last season and could be exploited in the Champions League. Van Dijk is a complete defender and would offer a more assured option on the left-side of the defence.

Another option would be to shift Cahill to the right-side and play Cesar Azpilicueta as the right wing-back rather than part of the three-man defence. This would provide the team with a better defender in that position as Victor Moses was targeted at times last season.

Chelsea needed to improve their squad this season as it wasn’t balanced for the 3-4-3 formation. Conte got away with it last season as they didn’t have European football to contend with, but that is no longer the case as they will be competing in the Champions League.

They may have already signed Antonio Rudiger, but another centre-back would provide the manager with options and squad depth. If that centre-back was to be Van Dijk, it would send a message to the rest of the league that the Blues remain a powerhouse in the transfer market and deliver a damaging blow to Liverpool. This would be a great deal for Chelsea and it will be interesting to see if the report is an accurate one.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Chelsea

Newcastle United can do better than Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham this summer

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Photo: Getty Images.

Rafa Benitez will have been disappointed to have seen his January signing of Islam Slimani end in complete and utter failure with the Leicester City loanee spending more time in the stands than on the pitch and now he is focused on bringing in an improvement to St. James’ Park for 2018/19, but Tammy Abraham is not the answer.

TEAMTalk say that the Spaniard may return to the striker, who was strongly linked with a move to the north-east last summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

On that occasion, the report indicated that a deal could not be agreed to satisfy Chelsea, but having struck a deal for Kenedy since then the relationship between the two parties may be better and make a move for Abraham smoother.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Then, Abraham was hot property having set the Championship alight with Bristol City, but his loan spell at Swansea has been less convincing. Having scored just five goals and registered three assists in 39 appearances for the Swans, Abraham has made only two Premier League starts in 2018 as doubts continue to emerge about his ability at this level.

What is clear is that he is not ready to walk into Newcastle and be the solution that Benitez needs. In part, that is because Abraham would not be an alternative to the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, impressing in the second tier himself now, or Slimani, given that whilst he is tall and physical, his game is about much more than simply being a target man.

The Newcastle boss is clearly looking for a way to add goals to his team, but Abraham, whilst promising, may not be ready for such pressure after a frustrating season in difficult circumstances in south Wales and would be a cheap gamble if Newcastle were to opt for him as their main addition up-front.

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Isaac Christie-Davies joining Liverpool highlights Anfield as the ideal platform for youngsters

Josh Kerr

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Isaac Christie-Davies
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool are set to sign Chelsea midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies on a free transfer, according to reports from ESPN.

The 20-year-old talent was not offered a new contract by Chelsea and the Reds swooped in earlier this year to offer him a trial ahead of other interested clubs.

If the move goes through, Christie-Davies will become the second young player, after Dominic Solanke, to join the Reds from Chelsea in just two years.

Davies joined Chelsea’s academy from Brighton and progressed from the youth ranks to the under-23s, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016 as well as the UEFA Youth League in 2016.

The teenager impressed during his trial period at Liverpool with the Merseyside outfit set to offer him a contract.

The youngster will look to his former Chelsea teammate and World Cup Golden Ball winner Solanke for inspiration, who finally showcased his talents in his previous outing at Anfield.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old striker finally notched his first senior goal for the Reds against Brighton on the final day of the Premier League, when the England international rifled a shot just under the bar to break his Reds duck.

The move for Christie-Davies represents yet another promising player trading London for Merseyside, and it could be Liverpool taking advantage of further academy talents.

Christie-Davies is likely to head straight into the Liverpool Under 23 squad as he follows the path of former teammate Solanke to Anfield.

Despite the youngster being unlikely to influence the first team next season it still could prove to be a nice bit of business from the club.

Although it was Chelsea’s decision to let the former Brighton youngster leave Stamford Bridge, Davies will look to the likes of former Blues, Solanke and Rhian Brewster as inspiration that it is still possible to reach the top.

Liverpool’s under 23’s finished 2nd in Premier League 2 this season, and standout players such as Harry Wilson even endured successful loan moves in the Championship, which could be the motivation Davies needs to make the grade at Anfield.

Also, the fact Liverpool quickly gambled on the midfielder reflects the qualities that are evidently present with Christie-Davies. If the youngster makes the most of his new move he could be another former Blue to thrive from a London exit.

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Mauricio Pochettino would be mad to leave Tottenham for Chelsea

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Photo: Getty Images.

There could be one of the most sensational managerial switches of the Premier League era if Sky Sports are to be believed as they claim that Chelsea are pondering over making a move for Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to replace Antonio Conte after a disastrous attempt at a Premier League title defence.

The Italian’s days are clearly numbered and his departure after the FA Cup final this weekend looks inevitable, but Mauricio Pochettino would be making a serious mistake if he were to take the opportunity to move to Stamford Bridge.

After four years in the dugout, at both White Hart Lane and Wembley Stadium, Pochettino has got his team playing his way. The Argentine has always worked under limited resources, at Espanyol, Southampton and even now at Spurs, and whilst the offer of money to spend at Chelsea may be exciting it would also mean an increased responsibility and a very different challenge.

(during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

Tottenham fans and board have complete faith in their coach and are prepared to invest in him to take their club to the next level, something which will come soon with the building of their new stadium, and feel that he is the right man to lead the club in the long-term.

A move to a club with such a short term view in the form of Chelsea would be to sacrifice all that Pochettino has achieved in his spell in north London to date, bringing through young talents like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier who are now beginning to reach their peak and shine under the coach.

With stability at a club on the up, Pochettino would be foolish to be distracted by the bright lights and glamour of a dysfunctional club like Chelsea.

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