Chelsea manager Conte cautions impact of Man City getting van Dijk

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned Premier League teams to prevent runaway leaders Manchester City from laying their hands on Southampton's highly rated defender Virgil van Dijk, or risk Pep Guardiola's side becoming too good for anyone to overcome.

Liverpool were the frontrunners to land the Dutchman's signature for £60 million (S$108m) during the summer, but were rebuffed, quite embarrassingly, as the Saints accused the Reds of tapping up their player.

With the transfer window set to reopen in less than a fortnight's time, City are reported to be ready to make a swoop for the 26-year-old ace. Arsenal and Chelsea are also said to be interested.

Conte believes that if City win the player's signature, the repercussions will be immense on other Premier League sides.

He said: "Every team, every club, must pay great attention. Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best (players), it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England, but (also) in Europe.

"If they can do this, it is right for them to do this. We must pay great respect.

"When you have this opportunity to go in the market to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this.

"You must obviously be very good to spend your money in this way - sometimes you can spend a lot of money in a bad way.

"You must be clever to understand the positions, the roles you have to improve. In this case, you must be very good."

Van Dijk was dropped in the Saints' 1-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. - WIRE SERVICES