What Does The Future Hold For Virgil van Dijk?

Virgil van Dijk (Credit: Antoon Kuper -- Flickr Creative Commons)
Virgil van Dijk (Credit: Antoon Kuper -- Flickr Creative Commons) /

Following a successful two seasons at Celtic, promising young center-back Virgil van Dijk has announced his desire to leave the Scottish Premier League to pursue a career at a higher level.

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For such a talented prospect, top flight of England naturally beckons for the 23 year old Dutchman, with the likes of Norwich, Sunderland, Southampton and Swansea in contention for the defender’s services.

Van Dijk broke the news to the press earlier this month that Scotland no longer had a caliber of football that satisfied his ambition, and has pleaded to Celtic to be sold to a club that can provide him with a more formidable challenge.

"This year I’ll turn 24 and I need something new. More pressure, better opponents. Especially when you think of the European Championships next year. I want to be in the team in France."

The defender clearly believes that his hopes of breaking into the Dutch national team will be realized if he leaves Scotland behind, and with Euro 2016 on the horizon, van Dijk is eager to take this opportunity while it’s available to him.

"When you play in the Premier League in England, you get more recognition – that’s obvious."

EPL clubs have been knocking on Celtic’s door in the hopes for the Dutchman’s signature for the past couple of years now; Sunderland in particular have approached the Scottish giants on numerous occasions, only to be warded off by sizable asking prices.

In the summer of 2014, for instance, van Dijk was branded with an £8 million price tag, which clubs were not willing to pay at that moment in time.

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However, with news of van Dijk’s desire to depart surfacing from the papers, EPL clubs are willing to spend big in order to bolster their side with a power and pace — attributes that 6″4′ Virgil van Dijk embodies.

Celtic may be on course for a potential 5th title in a row, with Champions League football something that they can offer to the Dutchman, but this apparently can’t halt his ambition any longer.

A £10 million price tag has been slapped onto the Dutchman, and several EPL clubs appear willing to match this demanding price — and with a wide range of clubs in the English top flight allegedly interested, it’s entirely plausible that the Dutchman could find himself at either the top or bottom half of the Premier League.

However, in light of the statements released by van Dijk, could it be possible to predict where it is most likely the Dutchman will end up?

If national recognition is what van Dijk wants, newly promoted Norwich appear considerably less likely as a more established EPL side would arguably be more beneficial for enhancing the young defender’s reputation, due to longevity at such a high standard of football.

Andre Ayew is Close to Signing with Swansea City. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Andre Ayew is Close to Signing with Swansea City. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Should Southampton part ways with Toby Alderwireld, van Dijk could find first team football a firm possibility should he impress more than the Saints’ recent addition of Cedric Soares to their defensive roster.

However, Sunderland and Swansea may emerge as the strongest contenders for similar reasons. The Swans appear to be on the up with new singing Andre Ayew signalling an intention to scale the table, an advancement that van Dijk could capitalize on in order to show his worth.

Sunderland will be hoping to avoid another season of fighting relegation by injecting quality into their struggling side, add that to the fact they currently only have 2 registered center-backs, the Dutchman could significantly lift the squad should he opt for the Black Cats.

Wherever van Dijk goes will ultimately be determined by his ambition, all we know for certain is that he does have many options available.

Next: Southampton Plan Record Breaking Deal for Alderweireld