Virgil Van Dijk
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FAB Virgil: Gunners readying £8m winter bid for Celtic’s Van Dijk

| 14.10.2014

Arsenal, 15/8 chances with Coral to top their Champions League group, are linked with an £8m bid for Celtic and uncapped Dutch central defender Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window by the tabloids.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger only has two senior centre halves on the books in north London, in World Cup winner Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Teenage talent Calum Chambers acts as cover after arriving from Southampton over the summer, but is currently deputising for the injured Mathieu Debuchy at right back.

Van Dijk, 23, has caught the eye at the Glasgow giants since joining them from Groningen last season. Winning the Scottish Premiership at the Bhoys in 2013/14 led to Netherlands national boss Guus Hiddink to call him up, but he is yet to make a senior debut for his country.

That may soon change, however, as the Clockwork Orange are making heavy weather of their bid to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France. The Dutch slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Iceland, with Swansea City winger Gylfi Sigurdsson starring by bagging a brace.

Hiddink has reverted to a back four, after predecessor Louis van Gaal steered the Netherlands to third place at the recent World Cup in Brazil by using three central defenders. Already six points behind the Czech Republic and Iceland in Group A, the Dutch remain odds-on 8/13 favourites to top the pool.

North London outfit Arsenal face a rerun of their FA Cup final with Hull City next in the Premier League. It took extra time to separate the Gunners and Tigers in the Wembley showpiece back in May, but odds of 7/2 say this 90-minute contest will be drawn.

Koscielny withdrew from international duty with France due to injury, meaning Wenger could be facing a deepening injury crisis in defence. Chambers could deputise, meaning fellow youngster Hector Bellerin may play at right back. An alternative open to Arsenal, who are odds-on at 4/1 to beat Hull at home, is using Nacho Monreal in the middle.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.