Arsenal are reported to be considering an approach for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk as Arsene Wenger pushes ahead with plans to reinforce his squad in these final days of the summer transfer window.
Another defender needed
Another defensive recruit is required following the departure of Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Barcelona for £15 million, and it would appear that perhaps Van Dijk will be the player to fill the void left by the former Arsenal captain.
It is claimed by the Daily Star that Arsenal are prepared to make an offer of £10 million for the ex-Netherlands under-21 international, who moved to Celtic Park for around a quarter of that fee only a year ago.
But with Celtic having fallen at the final hurdle in pursuit of a place in the Champions League proper, and Arsenal reaching this stage for a 17th consecutive season, it would seem that Van Dijk is weighing up his options.
Van Dijk future
"It is difficult to say if this defeat will have an influence on my future,” he said after Celtic lost to Maribor. “I want to play at the highest level.
“We were playing for a place in the Champions League group stages, and sadly we haven’t gone through.”
Should Arsenal decide to formalise this supposed interest in Van Dijk then they will encounter competition from other Premier League sides, Sunderland and Southampton the most notable, while Sevilla have also been linked.
Arsenal, of course, would provide the greatest attraction to the 23-year-old given their significant standing in the game, although it remains to be seen if he would be interested in being recruited as a reserve option.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are the undoubted first-choice pairing at the Emirates Stadium, while Calum Chambers has proven himself to be a capable deputy when either has been unavailable.
Van Dijk may well then be fourth in Arsene Wenger’s selection order, whereas there would be the offer of more regular first-team football elsewhere. It does, however, remain to be seen how much this would influence his decision were there several destinations to choose from.