Manchester City fear they will be forced to pay more than £50m to sign Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, according to Sky sources.
Sky Sports News HQ revealed in April that Van Dijk was one of six players being targeted by City ahead of the summer transfer window.
City are understood to remain “extremely interested” in the Netherlands international with initial enquiries already underway ahead of a potential deal next month.
However, they fear competition from Liverpool and, in particular, Chelsea could drive the price beyond the £50m mark.
Southampton manager Claude Puel and the club’s chairman Ralph Krueger have previously insisted Van Dijk will not be allowed to leave St Mary’s in the summer.
The 25-year-old was rewarded with a new six-year contract in May 2016 and was named Saints captain following the departure of Jose Fonte to West Ham in January.
Van Dijk, who joined Southampton from Celtic in September 2015, made 30 appearances last season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the 3-0 win over Leicester on January 22.