Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk has decided to reject January transfer interest from a host of Premier League giants including Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, according to his manager Ronny Delia.
The Dutch centre-half has a host of top European clubs monitoring his progress thanks to a string of impressive performances for Celtic, who have a proven track record for selling star players to the Premier League if the price is right.
Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster have both made the successful switch south in recent times, but despite a clear lack of top-class centre-backs in the Premier League right now Delia is adamant that Van Dijk he's in no rush to leave Glasgow after holding talks with the player last week.
Delia pours scorn on exit rumours
In an interview with the Express the Hoops boss was asked about Van Dijk and a possible £10m bid for his star man, but insisted he remains confident the 23-year-old will still be a Celtic player when the January transfer window slams shut.
Delia said: "He’s very happy. I have spoken with him and we are very happy to keep him as well. He’s a top player. For me, Virgil’s developing now and taking steps all the time which is very important.
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Van Dijk learning to cope with the rumour mill
"I am so happy to have him. He is enjoying his football, playing well. That’s positive. He is such an important player for us.
“He has learned a lot from August. It’s not the first time a player has been affected. Others have been through these things as well.
“But Virgil learned from what happened in the summer and he knows that if he’s good enough things will happen. This is the way he wants to do it.”
Arsenal & Liverpool still need a centre-back
It's easy to see why Van Dijk has become so sought-after over the last six months, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool lacking both the strength in depth and defensive resources to mount a serious title challenge as things stand.
Arsenal in particular look well short at centre-back, still searching for the right player to replace former captain Thomas Vermaelen. Van Dijk would certainly provide instant cover for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, which given the French international's persistent injury problems has to be a necessity for the Gunners in January.
United meanwhile continue to search for a dominant, forceful defender to lead from the back, but Van Dijk will have to play out of his skin over the next six months to prove he's the man for that job and a significant improvement on options already at Louis van Gaal's disposal.
Van Dijk seems happy to play that kind of waiting game rather than get too hung up on a mid-season transfer, but he's still a player Premier League fans should keep a very close eye on in 2015.
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