Virgil Van Dijk remains involved in three way tug-of-war between Premier League giants

Contrary to reports of a deal between Manchester City and Southampton being agreed regarding the transfer of Virgil Van Dijk, the Dutchman's future remains unclear ahead of the transfer window officially opening.

City are certainly interested in the centre-back, who has been out since January through injury, but are locked in a three way battle with two of their Premier League rivals.

Champions Chelsea and Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool are also pursuing a move for Van Dijk, battling with City to make him amongst the best paid defenders in the world.

Who has the advantage?

Given Chelsea cantered to the title with the second best defensive record in the league, Antonio Conte may well stop to think hard before questioning how he wants to go about improving his side.

With that in mind, it's more understandable as to why the title holders appear to be behind their competitors in doing a deal for Van Dijk.

The Blues haven't been as dogged in their pursuit as City and Liverpool, with Conte also considering Kalidou Koulibaly and Leandro Bonucci as alternative options.

Reports earlier in the week suggested that City had agreed a £60million transfer paying Van Dijk £200,000 per-week, however it seems that there is work to be done still.

That opens the door for Liverpool, who arguably need him most given their blatant defensive frailties, ones that saw them concede 42 league goals next season.

Any deal will be a pricey one

Understandably, Southampton aren't keen to lose one of their prized assets, a feeling they've become accustomed to in the last few years.

However, even the most optimistic on the South Coast would admit that they'll be hard pressed to keep the 25-year-old given the Champions League football he craves.

Still, they're set to be well paid for their star defender. Any transfer fee is likely to be upwards of £50million, one of the most expensive transfers the Premier League will have seen.