Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that he expects to see something to happen with Manchester United target Virgil van Dijk this summer, with the intention that he could earn a top transfer.
However, despite clearly acknowledging the interest that will inevitably come for one of his most-prized assets following the end of the season, Lennon has insisted that it will be Celtic's decision as to whether or not the player departs.
"There has been no official approaches for Virgil yet, but that will come after the season ends. I expect something will happen for him this summer - the intention would be for him to earn a top transfer," he was quoted by BT Sport.
"It is a bit premature. He is on a three-year contract here. I would guard against that. It is not on our horizon, as it were. He is one of our best players, we don't need to sell. We have brought him in and put him in an environment where has thrived and prospered, he is our player.
"So whether they want to go or not, it will be down to us to make that decision," he added.
22-year-old defender Van Dijk joined reigning Scottish champions Celtic from Eredivisie outfit FC Groningen during the summer and instantly made a positive impact at Parkhead.
The former Netherlands U21 international has made 26 appearances so far this season for the Hoops, easily cementing a reputation as one of the SPL's best centre-backs with a series of dominant displays.
Such form does not appear to go unnoticed, with Manchester United and Manchester City having been linked with the £10 million-rated Van Dijk.
Although Lennon does not necessarily sound like he has given up hope of keeping hold of his defensive ace, you have to think that it would be difficult for Celtic to resist significant interest from that aforementioned Premier League duo.
Manchester United, who recorded a morale-boosting 3-0 win over West Brom last weekend but face a difficult test as Liverpool visit Old Trafford this Sunday, have endured a number of uncharacteristic lapses at the back during what has been an extremely testing first season under David Moyes' leadership.
And with stalwart and captain Nemanja Vidic set to depart the club for Inter Milan upon the expiration of his contract this summer, it is expected that the Manchester United boss will be in the market for a new centre-back this summer.
Manchester City, meanwhile, can boast arguably the most influential defender in the Premier League in the form of Belgian 'skipper Vincent Kompany but could also be keen on adding another defender with the well-documented struggles of the hapless Martin Demichelis.
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