Former Celtic star Frank McAvennie comments on Arsenal-linked Virgil van Dijk

Celtic Parkhead

Virgil van Dijk needs to play well for Celtic against Inter Milan in the Europa League to impress Arsenal, claims Frank McAvennie.

Frank McAvennie believes that Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk’s dream hinges on his performance against Inter Milan in the Europa League.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic have been drawn against the Italian giants in the round of 32 of the competition.

The first leg of the tie will be played at Celtic Park in Glasgow, with the second leg to be hosted at the San Siro in Milan.

Van Dijk is expected to play a key role in the tie. The Dutchman is one of the best centre-backs in Scottish football and has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the January transfer window.

Former Celtic striker McAvennie does not see the 23-year-old joining Arsenal next month, and claims that he needs to play well against Inter to move to a big club in the Premier League.

“I’m sure the manager will already have told him he’s going nowhere in January,” the 55-year-old told The Daily Mail.

“I didn’t take to the manager in the beginning but I now think he’s someone who’s got his head screwed on and will see this coming. He’ll be looking at this situation coming up and talking to Virgil about it…

“I know there’s been talk of Arsenal but at this stage I think that’s ambitious. But, he can still get a really big club - and if he does well against Inter Milan then who knows.

“I can tell you for a fact, the English clubs don’t care how well players do against other Scottish teams. No disrespect to boys at Ross County and elsewhere but they just aren’t rated in the wider scheme of things. That’s why the European games are massive for him…

“To get a move like that, you’ve got to do well in Europe. That’s where you are judged. It’s one thing doing well in Scotland but it’s Europe where the English clubs will judge you…

“Everyone is talking up the prospect of him maybe going to one of the big four in England – I don’t think he’s going to get to that level at this stage. Maybe a West Ham or a mid-table team is more realistic.”

Van Dijk joined Celtic from Groningen in the summer of 2013.

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