Celtic’s shock early exit from this season’s Champions League could prove to be a blessing to Newcastle United and their chances of landing highly-rated Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
Reports previously indicated that the Magpies were keen on a move for the 23-year-old, who has impressed at Parkhead since moving to the Bhoys from Eredivisie side Groningen in a deal worth £2.6 million last summer.
Celtic are thought to have slapped an £8 million price tag on the player’s head, but that has not put Newcastle off pursuing a move, with the Magpies keen to add some much-needed quality to their current backline options.
And while any potential move remains speculation, it was widely thought that the lure of playing in the Champions League this season would have been enough to convince Van Dijk to remain at Parkhead another year with Newcastle offering little in the way of European football.
But with Celtic suffering a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Slovenian champions NK Maribor, the Dutch youngster’s future has been thrown into doubt, with the Hoops now dropping down to the Europa League.
Newcastle could face stiff competition for Van Dijk, however, with some sources indicating that La Liga side Sevilla are also weighing up a move for the player.
Either way a move to one of Spain or England and a more competitive league system could also help Van Dijk ultimately earn a call up to the Holland national side, having previously represented the Oranje at under-19 and under-21 level.
The Dutchman could yet be the subject of a surprise bid from elsewhere too, with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City both thought to be keen admirers of his talents.
Louis van Gaal could certainly do with some defensive reinforcements at Old Trafford, following a difficult start to his reign at the club which has see the Red Devils fail to win any of his first three competitive games in charge.