Arsenal are preparing an £8million swoop for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk in January, after Arsene Wenger was left suitably impressed by reports from his scouts.
According to various reports the 23-year-old has been on the Gunners’ radar for sometime, with Wenger having asked scouts to track his progress this campaign ahead of a potential bid.
Now, The Scotsman is claiming that the reports on Van Dijk reached Wenger’s ears with glowing recommendations, particularly following his club’s clash with Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.
Van Dijk at Celtic
Interest in the player’s services was high over the summer, with both Sunderland and Southampton seemingly close to capturing his signature. Such was the result of the heightened speculation that Van Dijk was left out of the Celtic squad to play Dundee post-deadline day, and fears began to spread that he was irreparably unsettled.
Fast forwarding to present day however it’s become apparent that the very opposite is true, with the youngster having looked arguably the Hoops’ most influential player thus far. Celtic sit in 6th place in the SPL table after a somewhat shoddy start, but could go within three points of first-placed Hamilton if they win their game in hand.
That may not be enough for manager Ronny Deila to ensure that Van Dijk remains at the club past the winter transfer window however, with the player in question having hinted in the past that he would leave if it was for a Champions League club.
At Arsenal the opportunities in the heart of the defence are plentiful currently, with Calum Chambers having been afforded far more game-time than he would have expected prior to his move from Southampton in the summer.
Injury woes and a basic lack of options following the departures of Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna have left Wenger short of defensive cover and Van Dijk, who is tipped to have a bright future in the game, could be well utilised as backup to the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
That being said he’s far from the only name on the supposed January shortlist, with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira also having been hotly linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.
That more illustrious duo would take vast amount out of Wenger’s transfer budget, and so it could be a case of the Frenchman waiting to see if he has money to play with before decided whether or not Van Dijk needs to be acquired.