Bournemouth's Nathan Ake celebrates scoring
Chelsea all but guaranteed the Premier League title is heading back to Stamford Bridge with a 2-1 away win over Stoke City on Saturday afternoon, but Antonio Conte will still want reinforcements this summer.
Despite spending big on David Luiz last summer, and having Andreas Christensen coming back from a two-year loan with Borussia Monchengladbach, reports suggest that Chelsea could still be in the market for another centre back to compete with Luiz, Christensen, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Now, The Sun report that Chelsea want to land Southampton star Virgil van Dijk – and could offer up Nathan Ake in a part-exchange deal.
Van Dijk, 25, has etabished himself as one of the Premier League's top centre backs since his 2015 move from Celtic, having proven he is the complete package with pace, strength, aerial ability and impressive technical ability.
The Dutch international is currently out injured and may miss the rest of the season, but that won't stop interest in his signature, with Chelsea keen despite Southampton allegedly wanting at least £50million for the defender.
Southampton's Virgil van Dijk
One way for Chelsea to try and drive that price down is by pitching a part-exchange deal, sending a player to Southampton in return – and Nathan Ake could be offered up to the Saints as part of the deal.
Ake, another Dutch centre back, starred during a loan spell with Bournemouth earlier this season, but having been recalled by the Blues in January, he has yet to make a Premier League appearance for Conte this season.
At 22, Ake may now want to play first-team football regularly, and after Bournemouth failed with a £17million bid to land him permanently in January, the former Feyenoord youngster could return to the South Coast if Southampton accept an alleged part-exchange offer from Chelsea, receiving cash plus Ake.
Would you accept cash plus Ake for Van Dijk?