Arsenal and Manchester City to bid for Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk; Rangers budget talks could see Lee Wallace and David Templeton leave Ibrox; Swansea join chase for Dundee United’s Andrew Robertson, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk a Manchester City, Arsenal target
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk is being monitored by Arsenal and Manchester City, who are considering a £10 million bid for the centre-back. The 22-year-old, who has turned in a number of impressive performances for Neil Lennon’s side, was signed from Eredivisie side Groningen for just £1.6 million last summer.
And a call-up to the Dutch national side is only a matter of time, according to Lennon: “It’s inevitable, if he keeps going and progressing the way he is, that he’ll become a Dutch international. He makes it look easy. People seem to think he has a laid-back attitude, but his work ethic is very high and he’s a kid who wants to get better. I’d like to think Virgil would get a chance with his country.” (Daily Express)
Rangers budget talks could see biggest earners leave
Rangers’ biggest earners could be shown the exit door in the aftermath of budget talks between manager Ally McCoist and chief executive Graham Wallace. The two are currently engaged in discussions to map out Rangers’ finances, which are widely expected to be cut following strong indications from Wallace that the club needs to cut its cloth.
Lee Wallace and David Templeton are named by The Sun as two players who are most likely to be asked to leave should Rangers need to reduce their costs. Wallace has been one of Rangers’ most widely acclaimed performers, and has attracted interest from Nottingham Forest. Templeton, who has been told he is part of McCoist’s long-term plans despite a lack of recent first-team action, may also be shown the door because of his high wages. (The Sun)
Efe Ambrose makes plea for Celtic to keep squad together
Celtic defender Efe Ambrose has pleaded with the club hierarchy to keep the current squad together. Neil Lennon’s squad are currently on a training camp trip in Turkey, and are without Georgios Samaras, whose future is currently under scrutiny. Celtic have sold several key players in recent seasons, including Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Kelvin Wilson. Fraser Forster and Joe Ledley are among the players at Parkhead attracting interest from other clubs, but Ambrose has called for continuity.
“The way the manager talks, keeping the team together is going to benefit the club. Last year some players left and you need continuity in the club to make it better. Long term, it makes you much better and stronger than selling one player every year and bringing one new. It is not going to help.” (The Sun)
Swansea join chase for Dundee United’s Andrew Robertson
Two English Premier League sides are competing for the signature of Dundee United full-back Andrew Robertson. Swansea have joined Everton in monitoring the 19-year-old, although neither team has entered a formal bid. Robertson, whose representatives have said he is in no hurry to leave, has been in impressive form for the Tannadice side, having played League Two football just a year ago.
Robertson’s representative Liam O’Donnell said: “A number of EPL clubs have been in contact regarding Andy. However, he will ignore the speculation and focus on continuing his development at Dundee United. He is perfectly happy at United.”
Dundee United are thought to be seeking around £1.5 million for Andrew Robertson, double the figure that the Arabs had initially sought. (The Sun, Daily Record)
Dean Shiels seeks McCoist talks on Rangers future
Dean Shiels’ agent is seeking urgent talks with Rangers manager Ally McCoist to discover whether the player has a future at Ibrox.
The 28-year-old has had only 15 minutes of first-team football – coming off the bench when Rangers were 6-1 up against Forfar on 3 December – in the past two months, despite being fully fit during that time.
Dean has been fit for two months now,” he said. “He’s been working hard and even doing extra training – he’s champing at the bit to play again. We’re in the dark as to why he hasn’t featured more often. I left a message for Ally last week but he hasn’t got back to me yet.
“I appreciate that this has been a hectic schedule for the club and I’m not trying to tell him how to do his job. I’m just looking to have a chat so he can help Dean to stay focused. As a footballer you can become disillusioned when you’re not playing. It can be difficult doing all the hard graft during the week and then having nothing to show for it on a Saturday.” (Scotsman)
Terry Butcher begins Hibernian clear-out
Terry Butcher has told four Hibernian players that they are free to leave the club. Kevin Thomson, Rowan Vine, Tim Clancy and Tom Taiwo are now free to find new clubs as Butcher seeks to reduce the Edinburgh outfit’s wage bill while adding new faces to Easter Road.
All four players are entering the last six months of their contracts and have been told they will not be offered new deals. (Daily Express)