Former SFA performance director Mark Wotte thinks Virgil van Dijk can improve at Celtic through Champions League football but needs the weekly test of Premier League football to continually improve, as reported by the Daily Record.
Van Dijk’s comments earlier in the week suggested he doesn’t think he can improve in the Scottish Premiership because of a lack of quality, and it is only on the European stage that he can really test himself.
There is a lot of truth in his views but it has to be remembered that whilst others like Nir Bitton thrived in the Europa League he struggled and was sent off against Inter Milan for two needless fouls.
Wotte thinks there are benefits of the Dutchman playing for the Scottish champions, including the expectation of winning every week and his exposure to European football, which he didn’t get at his former club Groningen.
If the Dutch international sees the English Premier League as the place for him to continue his development, there is no end of reported interest from clubs who are vying for the 23-year-old's signature.
Newcastle and Sunderland are rumored to have joined an ever-growing list of clubs interested, according to the Chronicle, with Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton all said to be showing interest in the centre-back.
Wotte thinks it’s only right for van Dijk to want a new challenge and believes he could find it in the bottom half of the Premier League as he aims for a move away from Celtic Park.
He said: “It’s a healthy attitude to want to challenge yourself against the best players in the world, he’s Dutch so there is that natural confidence.
“He’s had two fairly easy seasons at Celtic where they have won the title.
“The games Virgil plays week after week in the Scottish Premiership are not helping his development but his exposure to Champions League football has boosted his development.”
Van Dijk could follow in the footsteps of Victor Wanyama and Ki Sung Yun who both made successful moves to the Premier League from Celtic, and it is likely that Ronny Deila will be on the look out for a new centre-back in the summer with van Dijk’s departure immanent.