Collins: Virgil going nowhere

Date published: Friday 19th June 2015 1:53

The Dutchman, who signed from Groningen in a £2.5m deal in the summer of 2013, has been linked with a move to Premier League duo Southampton and Sunderland.

Arsenal and Manchester United are also reportedly monitoring the 23-year-old’s situation but Collins, who assumed his role at Parkhead when Ronny Deila took over last June, says he is going nowhere at the moment.

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, the former Celtic midfielder said: “Virgil van Dijk is staying, certainly for the Champions League qualifiers.

“He has two years left on his contract. Everyone connected with Celtic loves Virgil. He’s a great player and we want him to remain in a Celtic jersey this season.

“He is such an important and commanding player for us. He stops goals going in at one end and scores them at the other so we want to keep him.”

Celtic have been linked with Scotland international duo Ikechi Anya of Watford and Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher but Collins insists the lure of the Premier League will ultimately prove too strong for them to resist.

“They are two players I like,” he said. “But they are Premier League players and everyone knows what the salaries are like in the Premier League.

“That said, we would maybe like another couple of players to come in before the start of the season.

“We have one in already in Dedryck Boyata from Manchester City who is a terrific acquisition, but we’d like another couple. However, like every other club around the country it’s easier said than done.

“But the most important thing is to get the right players in rather than just rushing into it.”

Collins was speaking at the launch of next season’s fixtures for the top four divisions of Scottish football where he was joined by Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander, Peter MacDonald of newly-promoted Morton and Albion Rovers player-manager Darren Young.

On the new campaign, which Celtic kick off with a home game against Jim McIntyre’s Ross County on Saturday, August 1, Collins said: “Always delighted to have a home game and it will be a great atmosphere at Celtic Park.

“Hopefully we get a good day and a good performance as last season we had a very slow start so this year we want to hit the ground running and get the points in the bag.” 

Click here to see the Premiership fixtures for the 2015/16 campaign.

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