Chelsea are ready to make a January offer for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

The London Evening Standard says Antonio Conte is looking to sign a centre-half next month and another in the summer. Van Dijk has impressed for Southampton and has a £25million release clause in his contract.

Chelsea are believed to be monitoring the 25-year-old’s performances as they consider whether to make a bid. But they are likely to face stiff competition from a number of clubs including Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool, should they make a move in January.

But Chelsea‘s title challenge — they boast a three-point lead at the top — will be in their favour.

However, the Dutch international may be concerned about a lack of first-team football given David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are now Conte’s first-choice back three in the 3-4-3 formation.