Celtic manager Deila hopes to keep Van Dijk in wake of Southampton interest

The Norwegian boss insists the club don’t need to sell the 24-year-old defender and is focused on sending his side through to the Champions League group stages

Celtic manager Ronny Deila remains hopeful that Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk will stay at Celtic Park amid speculation surrounding a possible move to Southampton.

The reigning Scottish Premiership champions face Malmo on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead to Sweden for the second leg of a crucial Champions League play-off.

In a press conference ahead of the match, Deila indicated his desire for Van Dijk to remain in Glasgow for many years to come.

“I have said that a thousand times and I am tired of talking about him,” the Celtic boss told reporters. 

“He is still a Celtic player and hopefully he’ll be that for a long, long time.”

The Norwegian manager also outlined the importance of reaching the Champions League group stages, suggesting that any transfer talk would have to wait until after the play-off second leg.

“First, we have to get through and we can talk about that afterwards. That’s the goal – to keep the best players at Celtic.”

Deila insisted that the club will not be forced to sell their star defender, adding that Celtic’s aim is retain the club’s best players and compete in the Champions League proper.

“We don’t need to sell Virgil,” Deila suggested.

“He is an unbelievably good football player and Celtic is a big club and hopefully the scenario is in the Champions League and Virgil van Dijk at Celtic Park in the group stages.”