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Arsenal and Man City compete for Dutch centre back

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Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk of Scottish Champions Celtic is rumoured as a name on the shopping list of Premier League high fliers Arsenal and Manchester City. The 22 year old who was signed last summer for  a meagre 1.6 million pounds from Dutch Eredivisie club F.C. Groningen, has been in sensational form after playing 19 of Celtic’s 20 games so far this season. The centre half has also hit the back of the net thrice this season, with all goals coming in the Scottish Premier League.

Arsenal have only three proper centre halves on their team sheet - Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. Manchester City on the other hand have the rock solid pair of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic, but their problem lies on the bench where their two back up centre halves are 33 year old Argentine Martin Demichelis, who is injury prone, and 31 year old ex-Evertonian Joleon Lescott, whose contract runs out in the summer. Both the teams are in need of another centre half who can act as backup for their first choice defenders, with the more established names uninterested in playing that role. Van Dijk, a rising star in a comparatively lower league may just be the perfect answer to Arsenal or City’s requirements.

Van Dijk has earned rave reviews this season with Celtic boss Neil Lennon going on to say,“It’s inevitable, if he keeps going and progressing the way he is, that he’ll become a Dutch international. He makes it look easy. People seem to think he has a laid-back attitude, but his work ethic is very high and he’s a kid who wants to get better. I’d like to think Virgil would get a chance with his country.”

Van Dijk though remains unfazed by the prospect of a Dutch national team debut at the 2014 World Cup commenting, “I have never been invited, so I think the chances are not so big for me. That’s unfortunate for me, but I have to move on, still play good games. Maybe, you never know, the chance will come.”

Meanwhile, a call-up to the big time in the Premier League would be the ideal way for the young Dutchman to get noticed, and media reports suggest that a 10 million pound offer would be enough to convince Celtic to do business this very month.