By all accounts, Virgil van Dijk has had an excellent season for Southampton and now has a trio of the Premier League’s wealthiest clubs on his tail. We knew he was a player when he left as a 23-year-old two years ago, but you don’t really know how a player will measure up in a new environment until he gets there.
Scottish club have suffered from this previously, as players with decent EPL experience under their belts have not cut it herem even Bundesliga players, in the case of Teemu Pukki. Virgil’s success, and that of Victor Wanyama and ‘England’s number one’, reflects on everyone in the current Celtic squad.
You and I watched Celtic bridge the gap between selling our players in the £4m – £6m bracket, to selling between £10m and £12m. But we have hitherto been unable to fetch the kind of money the Portuguese regularly get for their top players (well into the £30m category).
If Virgil van Dijk leaves Southampton for north of £50m, not only will Celtic earn 10% of the fee, at a stroke it will increase the value of our playing squad, whenever the next EPL club comes asking.
Within just over a year of leaving Celtic, I have it on excellent authority that Virgil increased his wages by a factor of 10. His next move, by necessity, will see him earn over £100k per week. Celtic will not compete with those wages; players will not reject them to continue to enjoy our special club. We live in an era where Celtic players can one day aspire to earn £20m over a four year contract (elsewhere).
The migration south will continue, but if it is appropriately compensated, the opportunity for growth at Celtic will not diminish. It could even improve. Good luck to you, Virgil.