Celtic assistant manager John Collins has openly admitted that Player of the Year nominee and gifted centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been receiving big attention from the top European clubs, and conceded that he has been seeking divine intervention to keep his side's prized possession.
The Holland international has been at the heart of Celtic's title triumph this season, scoring ten goals and solidifying a back line that has looked shaky in previous years.
However, with the League and Cup double completed attention turns to the transfer window, where Van Dijk, amongst others, will be touted to draw transfer offers from the top English sides.
Hoping for a miracle
In an Interview with BBC Scotland, Collins spoke admirably of the ability of Van Dijk, but admitted that he had been hoping for a miracle that would be keeping the player at Parkhead come next season.
"I'm hoping and praying we can keep him for another year."
Van Dijk signed from Eredivisie side Groningen in 2013 for a fee just over £2.5 million and the player currently has two years left on his contract. An agreement that Collins expects the defender to see out.
"We're enjoying him at the moment. But I don't want to talk him up and talk him out of the club."
Van Dijk has been heavily linked with teams like Southampton and Arsenal in the past, sides who appreciate defenders with an eye for goal and confident feet.
However, like many Celtic fans, Collins is quick to address that the decision for Van Dijk to move on to pastures new needn't be rushed as the player still has to learn his trade.
Critics of the player's rapid development would point to the somewhat immature sending off in a return leg against Inter Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League, others would point to shaky performances in the player's bigger games against quicker attackers.
Collins was quick to agree but also defend the player who still has much to learn;
"...as the campaign progressed Virgil got better and better and that comes with experience."
Van Dijk has excelled as a leader at the back for Celtic, even at a young age, however whether or not his development has reached its limit in Glasgow is questionable. The summer months are more a retention period for Celtic as they aim to fight off bigger clubs with the promise of Champions League football.
It's up to Collins and co. to convince Van Dijk that his work isnt finished in Scotland or their star defender could be part of the inevitable list of talented players to leave Celtic Park in the summer.
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