Deila claims he hasn't spoken to in-demand Celtic star Virgil van Dijk despite transfer speculation

Ronny Deila

Ronny Deila says he hasn't spoken to Virgil van Dijk about his future at Celtic.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has told BBC Sport that he hasn't had a conversation with defender Virgil van Dijk about his future at the club despite speculation surrounding his future.

Van Dijk, 24, has been one of the best players in Scottish football ever since his move from Groningen in 2013, and his performances appear to have attracted interest in his signature.

Reports from the Daily Mirror over the weekend suggested that Southampton were edging ever closer to a deal to sign the Dutch centre back, but the Bhoys are desperate to keep him at least for a few more days.

With the crucial second leg of their Champions League play-off clash against Malmo to come on Tuesday, Celtic need Van Dijk focused on the task at hand, with the Bhoys looking to reach the group stage of the competition.

Much like Fraser Forster a year ago, once Celtic know where they stand with the Champions League, a deal may become more likely - but manager Deila has tried to play down the rumours.

Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of that clash against Malmo, Deila said that he hasn't spoken to Van Dijk about his future with Celtic - but believes his contract with the club is enough of a guarantee that he will stay at the club rather than leave this summer.

"I haven't talked to him, but he has signed a contract and that's a big guarantee," said Deila. "First, we have to get through and we can talk about that afterwards. That's the goal - to keep the best players at Celtic."

"He is an unbelievably good football player and Celtic is a big club and hopefully the scenario is in the Champions League and Virgil van Dijk at Celtic Park in the group stages," he added.

No matter what Celtic's result is on Tuesday, Southampton look poised to lodge a bid for Van Dijk, having lost Toby Alderweireld to Tottenham earlier this summer.

Whether it's now, in January or even next summer, Van Dijk is likely to leave Celtic for the Premier League - and the Saints will be hoping to secure their deal before the transfer deadline.

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