Whilst the club have said they want to keep him, the steady drumbeat of articles where he’s allegedly gone on the record with his hopes for a move can’t be ignored. It’s inevitable, and it might even be right for the club. For sure, there will be a pot of money on offer.
Most people will fancy him going to the much lauded English Premiership or, as the marketeers refer to it, the “Greatest League in the World”.
That’s the biggest pile of steaming dung ever to be peddled.
Spain and Germany outdo our neighbours by a country mile.
Even if they bastardised Carlsberg’s clever marketing they wouldn’t even get away with fooling us with “Probably the best League in the World”.
Van Dijk, like Wanyama, Ledley, Forster and Hooper before him fancies a shot at the big time and good luck to him.
He’ll no doubt treble his wages.
The last player I sorely missed exiting Celtic Park was the King, Henrik Larsson.
Celtic will always have favourites and a sprinkling of legends.
Legends come once a generation and it’s a much overused term in football.
Good players come and go but with the Champions League Qualifiers round the corner the race will be on to replace our best defensive pairing in years.
We’ll miss young Denayer, who was an absolute stand out and we’ll have to wait to see if Boyata will live up to his sterling reputation.
Our problem, of course, is that Ronny Deila and Peter Lawwell can sit down with any player they are keen to bring to the Celtic, but they will know that the disincetive is a move to the SPFL.
Yet Celtic’s ability to offer the chance of Champions League football could prove crucial in that regard.
Looking back at the aforementioned players, they came to Celtic and were given a platform on which they flourished and built their careers higher.
All got Champions League football. All won trophies. Despite what rival fans say and what the Scottish mainstream media thinks, Celtic’s standing in the game is still big. The EPL distorts the finances … but our reputation is still enormous.
Barcelona, Manchester United and other European giants love playing at Celtic Park. Why would an up and coming player not?
Furthermore, Celtic has not stood in the way of players wishing to further their careers and aspirations and surely this in in-built in any negotiations? That means players leave us (mostly) on good terms, and that in itself enhances our reputation in the game.
Deila’s opening gambit could be :”Come and play in front of 60,000 on a European night, bag yourself a trophy or two and be paid relatively handsomely for plying your trade whilst you are at it. Then, when the time is right, you can further your career in a bigger league …”
Whilst the SMSM continually peddle the myth that Celtic need a certain other club, I think you’ll find that this is just not the case.
This is why I’m not overly concerned about Van Dijk going. There’s got to be more Wanyamas, Van Dijks and Hoopers out there.
Celtic fans have slowly, but surely, gotten a grip on reality when it comes to the club finances.
Gone are the days of £6m purchases.
We’re a selling club whether we like it or not. The lure of the EPL makes it impossible not to be.
The European football market and its finances dictate our position in the game.
Scottish football, it could be argued, is pretty much bankrupt financially (and some would argue morally too).
Sponsors and TV companies are starting to come back, after Doncaster and Regan’s incredible act of self-destruction in 2012, but they are hardly queuing up to throw pennies at our game.
The disappointing thing about all this is that the team that came close to sealing a domestic treble will be broken up. If we lose Van Dijk we will have to rebuild the back line, and Boyata is the only signing in that area at present.
The rebuilding programme needs to start now.
I firmly believe that teams that stay together tend to win together.
Deila has done a fantastic job in moulding the side despite a ropey start and this is a little unfair on him.
Celtic has been making a lot of noise about getting to the Group Stages in the coming season, so although we have to be realistic we can hope the manager is given a decent budget to meet the expectations of the fans.
My worry is not also confined to Van Dijk. Stefan Johansen had an outstanding season and this could leave Celtic wide-open to bids.
But it’s not all negative….Celtic can give players success and players don’t often want to leave that behind.
It’s down to the board, the manager and the scouting staff to ensure his continues.
Hopefully no-one else is keen to jump the dyke.
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