Newcastle United have been told that £8millon would land them Celtic’s highly-rated Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
The Journal understands the club have recently been made aware of the 23-year-old’s potential availability, although there are more than a few Premier League clubs who have been told that the player could be theirs at the right price.
Newcastle are in the market for a centre-half – and Van Dijk, who cost Celtic just £2.6m from Groningen 12 months ago, is on their radar and has been a revelation for the Scottish champions.
His performances in the Champions League last season are what attracted the attention of several Premier League managers in recent months.
But as Celtic need to overturn a 4-1 deficit against Legia Warsaw this evening just to get to the final qualifying round of the Champions League, Van Dijk will be desperate to move without the challenge of European football’s top tournament.
And, more importantly, Celtic would be willing to sell if, as looks likely, they fail to make the Champions League.
Among the clubs who have watched the classy defender are Swansea City and Southampton. The latter have shown particular interest and were reported to have at least enquired whether £6m would be enough to tempt Celtic. It was not.
The signing of Jamaal Lascelles from Nottingham Forest means that, on paper at least, Newcastle are strong in terms of central defenders.
And yet he will be sent back to the City Ground on loan, while Steven Tayor and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa are either out of favour or heading that way, depending on your point of view. So Alan Pardew could certainly do with a classy centre-half who scores goals and can also play a pass.
Van Dijk is a quality player, and Newcastle would do well to put to one side the relative weakness in the SPL right now, certainly in terms of Celtic having any real competition in the league.
Newcastle drew 2-2 with Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium last night, with summer signings Emmanuel Riviere and Remy Cabella on target.
Pardew started with a strong side that included Daryl Janmaat, the Dutch right-back making his first appearance for Newcastle. Remy Cabella and Facundo Ferreyra were also in the team.
Of the 11 who began at Huddersfield, only Cheick Tiote and Siem de Jong, who are both carrying slight knocks, were missing from the team who you would imagine would start against Manchester City in 11 days’ time.