RONNY DEILA is adamant in-demand Virgil Van Dijk will NOT be sold in the summer.
The classy Dutch central defender has been attracting admiring glances from the English top flight.
However, the Hoops boss believes European prize money is worth more to the club than any transfer fee they could ever command for the 22-year-old who cost £2.8million when he joined from Groningen in the summer of 2013.
If the Parkhead side win the title this season and qualify for the Champions League group stages they are in line for a £16 million windfall from UEFA – and that doesn’t include home ticket sales.Deila is also an admirer of Hearts skipper Danny Wilson, as CQNMagazine revealed at the start of the week. Tynecastle owner Anne Budge, though, is reluctant to lose her club’s best performers after they secured a quickfire return to the Premiership.

Van Dijk admitted yesterday playing in Scottish football could be a factor in his failure to win a Holland call-up recently, but he’s in no rush to quit the club.

Deila said: “Virgil is our player and he will stay. That’s what we want, to have him through the Champions League. Any money we could get for Virgil can’t compare with the money we would get from the Champions League.

“He is so important to us. He still has things to work on to become even better. His chance will come in the future, but he is one of the players we really want to keep.

“We are looking for central defenders, it’s an important target. Wilson? He is one of many names we are looking at. I know all about him, of course. He is a good player, but there is nothing in that right now.”

Budge admits there could be a price to pay after Hearts romped to the championship under Robbie Neilson and bigger clubs eye their major players.

She said: “We have been successful. There has been and will be a lot of interest in our players and management team.

“If we lose one or two players we will be disappointed, but it won’t bring everything to a standstill so we will go with the flow.

“Am I confident we can hang on to the majority of the people we currently have? Yes, I am. The majority have bought into what we are doing and that’s good.

“However, it is a commercial world out there and if someone comes long and offers someone something hugely substantial then who knows?

“The next few months will tell. We have more than a nucleus. We have a fantastic base on which to build and I hope we can hold as much of that together as we can.”

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