Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted that the Blues were keen on signing Virgil van Dijk but lost out to Liverpool.

Liverpool signed Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for a fee of £75 million, making him the most expensive defender in football history. It was a bold move from the Merseyside club and one which has ensured them greater defensive security moving forward.

Antonio Conte has confirmed that Chelsea wanted to buy van Dijk but that they were unsuccessful due to Liverpool beating them to it.

The Dutchman has made a fantastic start to life on Merseyside after scoring a late winner at Anfield to knock Everton out of the FA Cup and effectively end their season in early January.

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When asked about Chelsea missing out on Virgil van Dijk, Conte said, “This is football, this is life.

“For sure it was our target [to sign him], but as you know very well, football is this. You can have a lot of targets but then you must be able to reach them. The transfer market is not simple for any club.”

 

The Chelsea manager added, “Liverpool bought Van Dijk to reinforce their defensive line, and I think Van Dijk is a top defender. They spent 85 million euros for this player.

“The same time, they sold very well [Philippe] Coutinho because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest, to improve your team.

“But I think the transfer market is not simple especially if there is this amount of money.

“I have great respect for the other teams, for the other managers, because behind every operation there is a programme, [there] is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, every team.”

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Virgil van Dijk is a player that is going to make a world of difference at Liverpool with his height, strength, leadership skills and reading of the game all vital to the improvement of a much-maligned backline.

It will be interesting to see how Liverpool’s new no.4 will fare against Manchester City this weekend because the league leaders have been in stunning form this season, scoring 64 goals in 22 games – 15 more than the Reds who are the second highest scorers.

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