In a major coup for the Glasgow club, Netherlands Under-21 centre-back Virgil van Dijk has signed a four-year contract with Scottish champions Celtic.
The highly sought 21-year-old has joined in a £2.6m deal from FC Groningen, for whom he made 37 appearances last season, with a 10% sell-on fee for the Dutch club.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon stated: “Delighted that we have acquired Virgil van Dijk… a highly talented young player.”
Van Dijk moved to FC Groningen from Willem II in 2011 and had two years left on his contract at Groningen, and the young defender stated his delight in signing for the SPL champions and looking for to playing in the Champions League.
“Celtic is the biggest club in Scotland and they also play in the Champions League,” he said. “They’re a fantastic club and when Celtic came in for me I was so excited. Everything here is good so I can’t wait to get started.”
Standing at a massive 6ft 4inches, Van Dijk should fit right in the rough and tumbles of the SPL: “I hope to play many games for my country in the future but first of all I want to make things happen here. I’m a strong defender and I’m good in the air, but I also like to play football on the ground, and I hope that we’ll do even better than we did last season. I think I can bring something extra to the team and we will see how it works out. I’m ready for everything. I love to play football but I do love getting into duels.”
The pull of Champions League football seems to be the main reason the Jong Oranje defender has joined The Hoops and the Champions League qualifying draw will be made on 24 June, with Celtic’s first match scheduled for 19th or 20th July.
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