Chelsea might get the chance to fight Liverpool for Virgil van Dijk with Southampton edging closer to the signing of centre-back Wesley Hoedt.
A deal between the Saints and the 23-year-old Netherlands international is almost completely sealed, meaning that the club could be preparing to lose Van Dijk to one of their Premier League rivals.
Both the Blues and Jurgen Klopp’s side are keen on the 26-year-old, who has not been part of the first team at the beginning of the season and having to train with the club’s U23s.
Lazio’s sporting director, Ighli Tare, told Italian broadcaster Premium Sport: “He [Hoedt] requested to be transferred. He wants to be a starter in England and will be transferred to Southampton in the near future.
“He has had a positive experience here in Rome. I wish him all the best.”
Saints chairman Ralph Krueger was adamant last week that Van Dijk wouldn’t be sold, but Southampton’s new Chinese owners haven’t provided new boss Mauricio Pellegrino with any additional funds for transfers.
Uncertainty about his future remains as Van Dijk still hasn’t returned to Saints’ first-team fold – a month after being banished to train on his own after informing Pellegrino that he wanted to leave.
The Dutch international has been spotted training with the U23s today as he remains an outcast with the first team, a stalemate that at the moment looks unlikely to actually be resolved any time soon.