Ronny Deila confident Virgil van Dijk will stay

The centre back is reportedly being pursued by English Premier League clubs. Picture: SNS
The centre back is reportedly being pursued by English Premier League clubs. Picture: SNS
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CELTIC manager Ronny Deila believes the mutual appreciation that exists between Virgil van Dijk and his Glasgow employers will ensure the defender stays put during the January transfer window.

In recent days, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are reported to have been monitoring the progress of the 23-year-old Dutchman, who has two-and-a-half years to run on his current contract.

However, with Celtic chasing a domestic treble in the second half of the season – an assault that will see them face Rangers in the League Cup semi-final on 1 February – and having a Europa League last-32 tie against Internazionale to come in eight weeks, Deila is confident van Dijk, pictured, will not leave his team in the lurch.

“We talk together and we have a big respect for each other and what we want,” the Norwegian said. “He is enjoying being here now, is training well and is happy. He is a very, very good player and we want to keep him. We don’t need to do anything and that’s important. We understand at one time he will want to go to another stage but, right now, we think it is best for him to stay here.”

Deila takes his team to Tannadice today to face Dundee United in a match that will see them attempt to rack up eight consecutive Premiership victories.

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The presence of Stuart Armstrong in the home ranks will give the Celtic manager another chance to examine the credentials of a midfielder with whom he has been heavily linked. Deila certainly didn’t douse such speculation in giving the 22-year-old a glowing reference.

“He’s a good player,” he said. “He’s a [Thomas] Muller-type, like the Bayern Munich player. We have to be ready for him and what he is going to do because he is quick and finds a pass. He is a big player for Dundee United.”

The Norwegian has been impressed by United. “They have improved and have had a very good season so far,” he said. “They have a lot of points and played many good matches. I like the way they play football. They defend hard with a very good team spirit and are very direct, very good in counter-attacks and also score a lot of goals from set-pieces.

“They are a very good team and have brought on a lot of young players. They also sold players for good money and still keep the team up. That’s the sign of a good culture and a good club. It’s going to be a very tough game, but that’s good, that’s the games we need.”

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