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Ake could make way for Van Dijk at Chelsea

19:00 GMT+3 23/06/2017
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton
The Blues defender has an uncertain future, with many English clubs monitoring him as his club look to sign a big name for their rearguard

Antonio Conte is willing to sacrifice Nathan Ake for a new centre-back, Goal understands, but the Blues are not especially close to signing Virgil Van Dijk. 

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The Netherlands defender is one of Chelsea's main targets but progress is slow, with Southampton reluctant to enter talks at this stage in the transfer market. 

Conte is keen to bring in a world-class defender and would like to see Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci alongside Van Dijk, but no deal is imminent.

Instead, Chelsea are focusing their negotiating efforts on a striker, midfielder and wing-back for the time being. 

Ake could be discarded in the pursuit for a new defender and has Bournemouth keen to secure a permanent deal after his successful loan spell there last season. The 22-year-old has grown frustrated over a lafirst-teamt team action at Stamford Bridge, having made only five appearances since returning in January. 

Southampton are also keen on Ake but it remains to be seen whether he would be involved in negotiations as a replacement for Van Dijk if a deal were to go ahead. Indeed, new boss Mauricio Pellegrino has yet to have the opportunity to assess his squad.

Kalidou Koulibaly is another player who Conte is keen on, but interest has waned after a summer of frustration dealing with Napoli last year.