Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk has wasted little time in fanning speculation over his future in the wake of the Bhoys’ Champions League play-off round elimination.
“Celtic is an amazing club and I’m very thankful for everything,” the Dutchman told the BBC.
“But if the right opportunity comes then I’ll consider it.”
That right opportunity could well be the chance to take the well-trodden path from Parkhead to the Premier League with Southampton.
Van Dijk is 7/4 to ply his trade at St Mary’s by the close of the transfer window, while he remains just 1/2 to stay put in Scotland.
The Dutchman is understood to head the Saints’ shortlist for a new centre-half – a pressing concern in light of the departure of 2014/15 loan star Toby Alderweireld and long-term injury to Florian Gardos.
If the 24-year-old joins Ronald Koeman’s side, it will be the latest instalment of what is becoming a depressing trend for the Glasgow giants.
Following Victor Wanyama in 2013/14 and Fraser Forster in 2014/15, such a switch would indicate the third time in as many seasons the Saints have signed Celtic’s prized asset.
Despite currently having near-exclusive access to the Champions League qualifying rounds, the Bhoys seem to be becoming a de facto feeder club for Southampton.
Are Celtic developing the kind of one-sided relationship in evidence between Real Madrid and Tottenham or Arsenal and Barcelona?
If so, they should undoubtedly seek to leverage their position with the south coast club, rather than simply selling them their best player for £10m a pop, season after season.
The Saints, after all, have one of England’s most feted academies, a talent factory which has stocked numerous Champions League clubs in recent years.
An agreement that gave the Ronny Deila preferential access to the English outfit’s young talent, either in terms of transfers or, more likely, on loan, might help to sweeten the bitter pill of their yearly Parkhead talent raids.