Sunderland join race for Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk: Attracting interest from England. Picture: SNS
Virgil van Dijk: Attracting interest from England. Picture: SNS
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VIRGIL van Dijk is edging closer to the exit door at Parkhead after reports that Sunderland have contacted Celtic about the Dutch defender’s availability.

Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton is thought to be keen on recruiting the Dutchman, who has been touted as a future Netherlands international.

Van Dijk, who signed from Eredivisie side Groningen only last summer, is understood to be considering his future after Celtic’s exit from the Champions League against NK Maribor. The Celtic hierarchy are reported to be willing to listen to offers for Van Dijk.

Newcastle and Swansea are other teams who have expressed an interest in the Dutchman, who also has admirers in Spain.

Van Dijk himself suggested he may move on after losing to NK Maribor at Celtic Park, saying: “It is difficult to say if this ­defeat will have an influence on my future. I want to play at the highest level.

“We were playing for a place in the Champions League group stages, and sadly we haven’t gone through. I am a Celtic player for now, but we will have to see what happens.”