Celtic assistant manager John Collins told talkSPORT that he feels centre back Virgil van Dijk could play for any team in Europe.
The Daily Record reported at the start of last season that the player’s long term future at Celtic largely depended on the club’s participation in the Champions League, with pressure on the Bhoys to qualify for the group stage this time round.
Collins suggested that van Dijk has everything that a top defender needs, while making a tongue in cheek comment about talking the player up, in the knowledge that plenty of clubs are interested in him.
“He’s a class act and a top player. He could play in any team in Europe. There won’t be a centre half who’s better than him as a football player,” he said.
“I don’t want to talk him up too much because we want to keep him – I’ve played and coached a lot of football players but this young man has got everything; power, speed and he’s only going to get better. I just hope we can keep him.”
Deila has to try hard to resist interest from any club because of how important van Dijk proved to be in the Celtic defence last season.
The club have already lost Jason Denayer and despite the arrival of Dedryck Boyata, losing the other half of the side’s central defensive partnership from last season, could cause more problems than solutions.
What’s clear in Collins’ comments is how highly regarded van Dijk is around Parkhead, which will hold weight if the player has contemplated a future away from the club.
He’s got a status and a guaranteed place in Celtic’s first team, which just may not be the case with any team he moves to in the near future.