Celtic's Virgil van Dijk urged to snub Manchester United and Arsenal interest

Celtic Parkhead

Manchester United and Arsenal are reported to be been on Virgil van Dijk, but the defender has been urged to remain at Celtic by Ronny Deila.

Were Manchester United or Arsenal to open their respective chequebooks in January, it is difficult to see how Celtic would be able to repel advances from the Premier League.

If big money is tabled for their prized assets, convincing the subjects of such interest to ignore the lure of the English top-flight and the riches it has to offer would be an unenviable task.

That, though, is a situation the Hoops may be facing in the not too distant future.

January shopping lists are being drawn up and admiring glances are being shot in the direction of those catching the eye in the Scottish Premiership.

Virgil van Dijk is among those generating plenty of transfer talk, with gossip columns suggesting that the highly-rated Holland international could soon be on the move.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has adopted a ‘stick to what you know and buy Dutch’ approach in the past, during his time at Barcelona, and he has already added Daley Blind to the Old Trafford ranks.

Rumours of a Parkhead raid are building in intensity, with the Red Devils’ injury problems this season highlight the need to bring in defensive reinforcements.

Arsenal are also said to be mulling over an approach for a top-level centre-half, and Van Dijk could be the man Arsene Wenger has his eye on.

Celtic, though, will not sanction sales without a fight, and manager Ronny Deila has warned those contemplating a move elsewhere that the grass is not always greener.

He said in the Daily Record: “I will not be surprised if there is more interest in Virgil. He is a fantastic footballer and is improving all the time.

“Virgil works hard in training and is more focused. He’s going to be expensive but he loves to be here.

“I really hope that we can keep him. That is the priority. If he is going I hope it is to the biggest clubs and not an average Premier League team.

“He has everything you need to do it at that level. But I hope we can keep him to challenge for four competitions. That would be good for him too. He is our player and we have him on a long contract.”

While keeping his fingers crossed that Van Dijk decides to stay put, Deila will be aware that the sides leading the transfer chase are not ‘average’.

Van Dijk is also 23 years of age and seemingly ready to take another step up in class, with gradual career progression to date having taken him from Groningen to Celtic.

Whether he is playing his football in Glasgow, Manchester or London in 2015 remains to be seen, but interest in the New Year is virtually guaranteed as tempting options for the present and future are never going to be ignored by heavyweight outfits on the European scene.

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