“He’s a top player but Celtic as a team is important,” said the Norwegian, in quotes published by the Daily Record.
“He’s under contract and we want to keep him. He has ambitions to take the next step in his career but it has to be right for everybody if that is to happen.”
The Hoops' failure to secure a Champions League spot after defeat to Malmo on Tuesday night has been seen as the catalyst for van Dijk’s exit, with Southampton eager to secure a deal quickly – as reported by the Daily Mail.
The Daily Record claim that Celtic will demand around £10 million to sanction the Dutchman’s sale, and it’s unclear whether the Saints will be willing to meet that asking price in order to secure their man.
Deila also guaranteed that the money received for van Dijk will go straight back into the team, and feels Celtic can still attract quality additions despite their Champions League exit, adding: “Everything will go back into the club. Champions League is a higher level but there are a lot of players who want to play for Celtic so that won’t be a main problem.”
The problem for Deila will not be the ability to attract players, but rather the limited amount of time available to do so.
Next Tuesday brings about the close of the transfer window and leaves little time for Celtic to re-invest whatever funds they may receive for the 24-year-old.
The Hoops face the real prospect of being left short-staffed in central defence – an area where they are lacking in depth with or without van Dijk’s presence.