CELTIC and Southampton face a 72-hour stand-off over highly-rated Virgil van Dijk as the transfer deadline looms.
Ronny Deila has moved swiftly to fix up a possible replacement in Manchester United’s England Under-21 defender Tyler Blackett, who agreed a season-long loan deal yesterday.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman insists the south coast club will not pay over the odds for his fellow-Dutchman Van Dijk.
It’s believed their top bid is £10million while the SPFL champions appear to rate the centre-back in the £13million bracket.
While the clock ticks down, the Hoops introduced Blackett to the fans at the 3-1 win over St Johnstone at the weekend.
The Old Trafford youngster said: “I’ve come here to win trophies. Despite the fact I had a number of other attractive options, I felt Celtic would be the best place to develop as a player.”
Deila said: “He will bring quality here, that’s the most important thing. He is a good player.
“He has experience from playing at Manchester United and he really wanted to come here.”
Asked if he was seen as a central defender or left-back, Deila hinted strongly that was dependent on van Dijk’s future.
He said: “He can play both, so we’ll see after September 1 what the best position is for him.
“From a coach’s perspective we want to keep Virgil because he’s a great player.”
The Hoops have also made a £500,000 bid for Inverness Caley Thistle midfielder Ryan Christie and Deila added: “Yes, he’s a young player who has a bright future and someone we want to get into Celtic.
“But nothing is done yet. We’ve just had talks with Inverness.”