The Spaniard admits he is in the market for a new central defender and, while he is unwilling to talk directly about van Dijk, Martinez is reportedly willing to pay around £10million for the classy Dutch ace – as CQN Magazine revealed on Saturday.
With the Goodison side’s John Stones the subject of big-money interest from Chelsea, and Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz having both left Merseyside in the summer, the manager has admitted he is in need of reinforcements.
Martinez said: “That’s the nature of this period, you are going to be linked with players. I don’t enjoy talking about other players when they are not at our club and I will never be disrespectful in that manner.
“Our squad is not complete. We are still looking for two positions and we need to make sure they fit exactly in the group in the manner we want and expect as footballers and people.
“Central defence is one of those positions. Two experienced centre-halves left the squad, so we need to fill those gaps.
“I’m still assessing two of the young players we’ve got in the squad, but maybe we need another new face at centre-half.
“We will wait as long as we can to select the person we want.”
Martinez’s hand may be forced by Southampton, a club that has successfully shopped at Celtic Park during recent summers, securing the services of both Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster. Both ex-Celts have been huge successes on the South Coast.
Southampton’s interest in Van Dijk may kick off a bidding war with Celtic likely to receive a record transfer fee for the hugely impressive Dutch defender.