Southampton reportedly join race... would Celtic be a stepping stone for Jack Hendry?

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Celtic FC and RSC Anderlecht at Celtic Park on December 5, 2017 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Celtic are keen to bring talented defender Jack Hendry from Dundee but face Premier League competition from Southampton, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

Jack Hendry of Dundee in action during the pre season friendly between Brechin City and Dundee at Glebe Park on July 11, 2017 in Brechin, Scotland.

Dundee only signed Jack Hendry from Wigan Athletic in the summer but they are already facing a real challenge to hold onto the centre-back by the end of the January transfer window.

Because The Mail reports that Southampton sent scouts to watch the classy defender in action as Dundee lost 2-0 at home to Celtic on Boxing Day. The Saints’ own 5-2 thrashing at Tottenham suggested that a new centre-half would be welcome at St Mary’s – particularly with the wantaway Virgil Van Dijk omitted for the second game in a row.

Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on December 28, 2016...

As reported by The Mail, other Premier League clubs in the shape of Newcastle United and Crystal Palace have also expressed an interest in recent weeks.

But it was Dundee’s opponents on Boxing Day that appeared to have been leading the chase for Hendry. Per the Scottish Sun, the league leaders were expected to wrap up a deal to bring the 22-year-old to Parkhead in January but it appears now that a deal is in doubt due to the huge volume of interest – up to 18 clubs were watching Hendry on Tuesday.

And even if Celtic did win the race, it is tempting how long he would remain at Parkhead. Due to the financial nature of the Scottish top flight, talented young players often see Celtic as a launchpad for their career rather than a long-term destination – think Van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele (below).

Moussa Dembele of Celtic celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Celtic FC and Manchester City FC at Celtic Park on September...

With no shortage of Premier League clubs keen on Hendry, it perhaps makes sense to hone his talent more under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and earn a move to England in a year of two’s time.

After all, such a career path didn’t go too badly for the aforementioned Van Dijk, linked with a £60 million move to Manchester City two-and-a-half years after leaving Celtic, as reported by The Telegraph.

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