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Celtic: Virgil van Dijk poised to head south

Virgil van Dijk has been left distraught by Celtics Champions League elimination and is considering his future. Picture: John Devlin

Virgil van Dijk has been left distraught by Celtics Champions League elimination and is considering his future. Picture: John Devlin

  • by STEPHEN HALLIDAY
 

VIRGIL van Dijk looks likely to leave Celtic before the transfer window closes on Monday night but Kris Commons is set to sign a new contract with the Scottish champions.

Both players have been the subject of intense speculation following Celtic’s exit from the Champions League this week.

Dutch defender Van Dijk publicly cast doubt on his own future in Glasgow and the 23-year-old is now understood to have informed Celtic he would like to move to the English Premier League. The club would prefer to hold onto Van Dijk for another season but may now accept any credible offer for the player who has been linked with Sunderland, Newcastle United and Southampton.

But Commons, despite interest in his services from Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, is poised to commit himself to a contract extension at Celtic. The 30-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of this season but Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has revealed negotiations with Scotland’s reigning Player of the Year will commence next week. “His agent is coming up on Tuesday to discuss an extension,” said Lawwell. “We wanted to get the transfer window out of the way first.”

Celtic hope to conclude the signing of Serbian international striker Stefan Scepovic from Spanish club Sporting Gijon this weekend. The 24-year-old has been granted a conditional work permit and is expected to undergo a medical in Paris today ahead of travelling to Glasgow to negotiate personal terms. Celtic have already agreed a fee of around £2.2 million with Sporting Gijon.

“That seems very close now,” said Celtic manager Ronny Deila. “He is more of a target player, he scores and is a box player. He’s very, very good with both legs and scores in the air, as well, so he can make something from crosses and add power.

“He is different to what we’ve had before, something we’ve been looking for, so I’ll be pleased to get the deal done.”

Celtic are also ready to offload some players on loan before Monday night, including strikers Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki.

Meanwhile, Callum McGregor has signed a new five-year contract.

The 21-year-old midfielder has been a revelation since returning following a loan spell at Notts County last season. He has scored four goals, three of them in Europe, and his form was rewarded by Gordon Strachan with a call-up to the Scotland squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against World Cup winners Germany next week.

“It was a good boost that the club were looking to secure my future and I’m delighted to be part of such a big club like Celtic,” said McGregor. “I’ve been here since I was a kid. Hopefully I can repay the faith showed by the club and keep doing well.”

 

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