Report: New favourites to sign Van Dijk, Celtic 'accept' looming departure

Everton and Southampton reportedly lead the chase for the Celtic defender.

It's difficult to keep track of all the speculation linking Virgil van Dijk away from Celtic.

The Daily Mail have tried, however, reporting that Everton and Southampton are now favourites to sign the £10m-rated defender.

Both sides have been linked with the Dutchman before, of course, but the Mail now suggest they lead the race, with a whole host of other Premier League sides linked in the past.

They also claim that Celtic 'accept' Van Dijk will leave the club this summer - quite a definitive statement considering nothing concrete has been announced as of yet.

The 23-year-old has recently expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of competition within Scottish football, despite at the same time declaring his love for Celtic.

In response, the report backs up suggestions that the Bhoys have held talks with Manchester City defender Dedryck Boyata about moving to Parkhead as a potential replacement for Van Dijk.

A number of outlets, including BBC Sport, have also reported the same in recent days.

Celtic currently sit 14 points above second-placed Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership and will finish off their campaign at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle - the side that knocked the Hoops out of the Scottish Cup.

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