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How a Celtic win over Inter Milan could seal Van Dijk departure

| 25.02.2015

A Celtic victory in the famous surrounds of the San Siro this week would be a night to remember for Bhoys fans the world over, but it could prove bittersweet for manager Ronny Deila.

The Hoops fought back bravely to draw 3-3 at Celtic Park in the first leg and were perhaps unlucky not to win the game, with a series of blunders from Craig Gordon gifting Inter Milan their three goals.

But complete the job with a win in Italy and, while in the short-term progress will mean more money and prestige, it could also signal the beginning of the end for Virgil van Dijk and the club.

The 23-year-old defender has been linked with a Premier League move since last term, having impressed following a £2.6m move to Parkhead from Groningen in the summer of 2013.

Since then the stopper’s consistent displays for the reigning Scottish Premiership champions have attracted many plaudits, with Van Dijk named in the PFA Scotland Team of the Year for last season.

Holland manager Guus Hiddink has also taken note, with the Dutchman called up to the full Oranje squad for a recent friendly.

Little wonder then that the likes of Southampton, Newcastle and even Manchester United have all been linked with moves for the defender in the past – but they are not alone.

Deila recently claimed in an interview with the Scottish Express that as many as 20 different clubs scouted Van Dijk during Celtic’s 3-3 draw with Inter.

And the Norwegian appeared resigned to losing the youngster and Manchester City loanee Jason Denayer, explaining in the same interview that he was in the market for another defender.

“To have another experienced central defender would be good,” he said.

“But if I had to choose I would stick with those two I have and not bring anybody in because they have the future in front of them.”

Progress past Inter Milan this week and Deila may not have a choice when it comes to Van Dijk.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.