Van Dijk could leave if we don’t qualify, says Collins

Celtic assistant boss John Collins admits the club’s chances of holding on to defender Virgil van Dijk may hinge on qualification to the Champions League.

Van Dijk has been attracting interest from a number of clubs with the latest being Everton and Southampton and this summer has already told the Hoops to sell him.

But the Scottish champions see him as an integral part of their push for football at Europe’s top table in this campaign and don’t want to lose their prized asset.

Collins believes their chances of keeping the 24-year-old will be heightened if they can beat the Azerbaijani champions Qarabag and go on to secure Champions League football.

“I am not surprised there is talk about Virgil. When you are a good player there is going to be speculation,” he said ahead of their meeting against Qarabag on Wednesday.

“It’s another club mentioned today, I am sure there will be another next week.

“He’s a Celtic player. Would it be difficult to keep him if we don’t make the Champions League? Probably. But hopefully we won’t have to deal with that scenario.

“Virgil trains very well and is fully focused. He’s 24 now and has matured. He understands. There’s been plenty of talks with Virgil.

“He has to focus on what he can control – his training and his performances.”

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