Newcastle United’s hopes of recruiting highly-rated Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk from Celtic could ultimately hinge on whether the Bhoys get past NK Maribor next week.
Their Champions League qualifier against the Slovenian side is carefully poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Ljudski vrt, with the Hoops needing a victory or even just a 0-0 draw to progress to the group stages of the competition.
A victory over Maribor would most likely see Van Dijk remain at the club, with the opportunity to compete in Europe’s premier competition likely to be too good to pass up once again.
But if Celtic suffer another European night to forget, then the 23-year-old could consider his future at the club, with plenty in the way of Premier League interest for the Dutchman.
Newcastle United are thought to be among those clubs keen on completing a deal for the defender, with Alan Pardew eager to add defensive reinforcements to his squad as part of a major summer overhaul of the playing staff at St James’ Park.
Steven Taylor, who had been linked with a move to one of either Crystal Palace or Queens Park Rangers, could yet to depart, while Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is thought to have been deemed surplus to requirements after struggling to adapt to the demands of the English top-flight.
The France international’s wage demands are thought to be a major stumbling block to any deal, but should he depart along with Taylor, then the Magpies could step up their efforts to land Van Dijk.
Valued at £8m by Celtic, the former Groningen defender, who only joined the Bhoys for £2.6m from the Eredivisie club last summer, is thought to be keen on a move to the Premier League.
Any Newcastle switch could also open up the possibility of Van Dijk playing for Holland at international level, with the defender previously representing the Oranje at under-19 and under-21 level.
And should Celtic suffer another Legia Warsaw-style malfunction and lose at home, then a move could well be on the cards.
With so much riding on next week’s result, Celtic fans will be hoping for an emphatic win, with a Van Dijk goal thrown in for good measure!
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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