Chelsea are planning to hijack Liverpool ’s move for Brighton defender Ben White – and ditch Antonio Rudiger in the process.

Frank Lampard’s overhaul of the leakiest rearguard in the top half of last season’s Premier League is about to get ruthless.

And it appears German international Rudiger will be one of the big-name casualties at the back this summer – along with out-of-favour Spanish keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Rudiger, 27, has failed to convince the Chelsea manager he is the solution to his team’s severe defensive issues. The Blues conceded a thumping 54 league goals in 2019-20.

A dreadful display in last weekend’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal was another nail in the Stamford Bridge career of the £29million ex-Roma centre-half.

Ben White shone on loan at Leeds United in the Championship this season

Rudiger’s departure will further clear the way for the Blues to battle against champions Liverpool for the signature of White.

The Seagulls central defender, 22, is in demand following a superb season on loan at Championship winners Leeds.

White was ever-present for Marcelo Bielsa’s outfit – and the Argentine coach is hoping to secure him permanently before the Yorkshire club begin their long-awaited return among the elite.

Ben White is back at Brighton, who will cash in on the target for the Premier League's elite sides
Antonio Rudiger has been in poor form for Chelsea of late

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But the chances of that happening are increasingly slim, with Liverpool poised to make an opening £20million bid and Chelsea prepared to better anything on the table.

Brighton boss Graham Potter said last month White would not be joining Leeds because he wants him back at the Amex Stadium.

Despite him not yet making a senior appearance for the club, Albion have slapped a £40m price-tag on the youngster - under contract until June 2022.

However, if that figure will make Jurgen Klopp’s Reds think twice, it will not deter Chelsea, who are spending big after completing a two-window transfer ban.