Sunderland target van Dijk staying at Celtic, says Deila

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

CELTIC boss Ronny Deila insists Sunderland target Virgil van Dijk is staying at the club, despite being left out of their squad against Dundee today.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has been tracking van Dijk ever since he was in charge at Brighton and the centre-half was making his name in Dutch football with FC Groningen.

Reports earlier this week indicated Sunderland had made a £6million bid for van Dijk, but both Black Cats and Celtic sources insisted there had been no concrete offer for the 23-year-old.

Southampton and Sunderland scouts have watched van Dijk, although the Black Cats are wary of spending big on a defender who is untested in the Premier League.

But after Van Dijk was absent from the Celtic squad in today’s SPL clash against Dundee, Delia says nothing should be read into his omission.

“He is going to stay here and that’s the most important thing,” said Deila.

“He is a very good football player and he is very important for us and he’s going to stay here.

“He is not here today because there has been a lot of speculation and his head has been thinking a lot.

“He also has a pregnant girlfriend so he was not 100 per cent focused. We have other players who can do a better job.”

Sunderland are eager to bring in another centre-half before the transfer window shuts - possibly two if Valentin Roberge leaves the Stadium of Light before tomorrow’s deadline.

Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld - also the subject of interest from Newcastle, according to reports today - and Liverpool’s Sebastian Coates are on Sunderland’s radar.