Jamie Carragher: This £40m player would be a bargain for Chelsea in January

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks on from the stands prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on May 3, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Jamie Carragher says he would not be surprised to see Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk command a £40m transfer fee in the January window.

The centre-half has earned a reputation as one of the Premier League’s most promising defenders in recent weeks and has been linked with a move away from St Mary’s.

Chelsea have been linked with a possible January bid for the defender as Antonio Conte ponders bolstering his defensive options at Stamford Bridge next month.

Carragher has been very impressed by what he has seen from the Dutchman and says he would not be surprised to see the 25-year-old command a big transfer fee next month.

Writing in his column for The Daily Mail, Carragher said: “The transfer window will soon be open and Virgil van Dijk looks destined to become the dominant figure next month.

“He really impressed me during his first season in England with Southampton and I was surprised that Ronald Koeman did not take the Holland international with him when he became Everton’s manager. With John Stones leaving, Van Dijk (right) looked like an ideal replacement.

‘Since then, though, Van Dijk’s performances have gone up another level, to the extent that Manchester City are leading the chase for his signature and Chelsea are also watching events. Southampton look like they know it will be hard to keep him at St Mary’s.

“If and when he moves, Southampton will be looking for a fee in the region of £40m — maybe even more — for Van Dijk, 25. That is fair enough because that is the going rate for top-class central defenders.

“Van Dijk belongs in that category because he is as good off the ball as he is on it; he’s powerful, composed and durable — he’s barely missed a game since he has been on the south coast. He has a big future in front of him.”

Chelsea are currently gearing up for their Boxing Day Premier League clash against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

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