Paul Merson takes dig at Celtic and Scottish football

Paul Merson

Paul Merson suggests little can be gained from assessing new Southampton Virgil van Dijk because the standard of opposition Celtic faced was so poor.

Paul Merson says he is yet to be convinced whether Virgil van Dijk is a good signing for Southampton.

The former Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth midfielder told SkySports of his low regard for Scottish football, and believes Van Dijk was untested at Celtic.

He said: "I'm not sure about Virgil van Dijk at all because he's been playing for Celtic and hasn't had to head a ball. I'm very interested to see what happens with him."

It is a bizarre remark from Merson regarding the 24-year-old, who has experience playing in the Europa League and Champions League.

In those competitions over the past two seasons for Celtic, according to Opta powered whoscored.com, Van Dijk averaged 6.6 clearances per game, and three interceptions per match.

His disregard for Celtic and Scottish football is somewhat undone, when he goes on to praise Southampton for resisting transfer interest in midfielder Victor Wanyama, as well as winger Sadio Mane.

He said: "They have kept Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama which is good news."

Wanyama was a signing from Celtic two summers ago, and settled into life in the Premier League with ease. Goalkeeper Fraser Forster was similarly outstanding after his move last summer, before sustaining a serious knee injury, and perhaps Merson should show more faith that Southampton's regularly impressive scouting network has got it right once again.

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