Premier League • England

Chelsea to copy Liverpool with transfer pursuit of ‘Virgil van Dijk mark two’

Attila Szalai Hungary

Chelsea are looking to follow Liverpool’s lead by signing ‘the Hungarian Virgil van Dijk’, according to reports.

van Dijk has transformed Liverpool since his arrival on Merseyside back in January 2018. He arrived with big expectations as the Reds paid a then world record £75million fee for his services, the most for any defender at that time.

The Dutchman has more than lived up to the hype. He has been a rock at the back for Jurgen Klopp over the past few years.

His assured defending has helped Liverpool to lift both the Champions League and Premier League titles. van Dijk has also become one of the world’s best defenders in the process.

It’s no surprise that Chelsea are aiming to replicate such a signing. They could lose Thiago Silva this summer as the veteran closes in on a return to Brazil.

That means a new centre-back partner is needed for Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – should the duo sign new contracts at Stamford Bridge.

The Sun, citing reports in Turkey, claim that Chelsea are hoping to land Fenerbahce’s Attila Szalai. His dominant performances for his country at Euro 2020 have seen him labelled ‘the Hungarian van Dijk’.

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The 6ft 3in defender appeared in all three of Hungary’s games before they were knocked out in the group stage. However, they did manage to pick up points against heavy-hitters France and Germany.

Chelsea are readying an offer worth £17m to give Szalai his big chance in the Premier League. Fenerbahce are willing to cash in so they can fund a January transfer spree.

The player’s value has skyrocketed since his £1.8m switch from Limassol to Fenerbahce in January. He is already one of the Turkish club’s most valuable assets.

Szalai has previously attracted attention from West Ham, Leicester and Aston Villa. They all planned offers but couldn’t get a deal over the line.

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Ferdinand slams Jorginho Ballon d’Or chances

Meanwhile, pundit Rio Ferdinand has savaged Jorginho’s chances of willing the Ballon d’Or. The Blues midfielder has been nominated for the award after winning both the Champions League and the Euros.

But Ferdinand cannot understand how Jorginho would win. “The Jorginho one baffles me. He’s not the best player at Chelsea and he’s not the first name on the team-sheet with Italy either.

“He’s a very good player don’t get me wrong and I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all, but I don’t see how he gets on the list with those players [Lewandowski, Ronaldo etc] – with the levels that these guys have been playing at.

“If you look at Chelsea, in their run to winning the Champions League, I think [N’Golo] Kante was man of the match in five of their last six games.

“It baffles me. He’s won two of the big trophies, I get that. But when you’re putting him up against those other players there, it doesn’t make sense to me.”

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