The Daily Star have linked Sunderland with making a move for the Celtic defender, and van Dijk has told Voetbal International that playing in the Premier League makes him more likely to get an international call-up as the quality of football is higher.
The 23-year-old centre-back said: “If you play in the Premier League, you are more into the [international] picture. That is obvious. There are several people who have advised me to leave Scotland. This was mainly to move a step higher, but also the Netherlands plays a role.”
It is no surprise that van Dijk is pushing for a move away from Celtic, and Sunderland’s interest is said to be concrete, with his international future on the line if he remains at Parkhead.
Despite being just 23, he is already one of the best Dutch centre-backs around, but as he plays in the SPFL he is yet to test himself against the top European opposition.
Occasional Champions League and Europa League outings are not enough to put him in the public eye enough, and although he has been called up to the Netherlands fold before, he has still yet to make an appearance for Oranje.
At his age, he should be starting to make a name for himself at international level, but he is aware that he will fail to impress head coach Guus Hiddink whilst still turning out in Scotland.
Van Dijk looks to have burnt all bridges with the Bhoys now, with a summer transfer looking very likely, and a move to Sunderland would be perfect for the centre-back to start impressing in the Premier League.