Football

Virgil Van Dijk linked with Sunderland - but he can do better

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Virgil Van Dijk has been linked with a move to Sunderland in recent weeks, with the Black Cats offering a more than suitable £8 million deal for a player playing in the seemingly less competitive Scottish Premiership.

But is a move just south of the Scottish border the right one for the player? As a Celtic fan, I may be biased when I say this, but I think the Dutch International can do better. Significantly better. And here's why.

New generation

Firstly, Van Dijk has come through as one of the new generation of centre halves, this exciting, adventurous defender with a great touch, pass and isn't afraid to take a man on and score a goal or two has become the norm now, with teams like Chelsea (Cahill), Spurs (Vertonghen) and of course Arsenal (Koscielny) setting the pace for the new breed of centre-backs. It's a position Van Dijk looks more than comfortable in.

But it is important to not mistake this adventurous defending as lacklustre, as the Dutchman was part of a Celtic back four that went a staggering 1,215 minutes without conceding a goal. Even if that is in the SPL, its a stat that speaks volumes of the players composure at the back and one not to be overlooked.

Composure

Secondly, Van Dijk has proven himself as a player with the capabilities to compete (and carry a team) in European football, a position that Sunderland are in no way able to offer him. Seeing the player first hand command a team in Europe at the tender age of 23 shows the players ability to adapt and maturity beyond the years.

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Granted, the Scottish Premier League may not be as challenging to the ex-Gronnigen man, who Celtic signed back in 2013 for a modest £2.6 million. However his maturity in a Celtic shirt both in Scotland and European football last season - and thus far in the Europa League - have proven this player is a cut above the rest.

Rumour mill

The player's performances haven't only been spotted by Sunderland however, as the rumour mill begins to churn out it's usual whispers of "who's signing who" Van Dijk's name has cropped up on Arsenal's radar, a team who (with all due respect to Sunderland) seem to suit the player's more composed and confident passing based game.

The Dutchman's price tag has been set at a modest £10 million, a price that some may believe is too high for an unproven, young defender in the SPL, but one can only wonder how long his stellar performances can go on before someone pinches him away from Celtic.

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