SUNDERLAND target Virgil van Dijk admits he would consider leaving Celtic this summer.
The Black Cats have been tracking centre-half van Dijk for the past 12 months and the departure of ex-head coach Gus Poyet will not necessarily end that interest.
I want to develop. If the opportunity is there, I would definitely consider a transferVirgil van Dijk
Sporting director Lee Congerton was keen to sign the Dutchman last summer before Sunderland’s pursuit was scuppered by Celtic’s asking price, but the club have continued to keep a close eye on the 23-year-old.
Celtic insist they will not consider selling van Dijk for less than £10million, although it is understood that the SPL champions may be willing to consider letting him leave for less than that huge sum.
But with the likes of Southampton and Arsenal also keen on van Dijk, the defender admits he is open testing himself elsewhere after becoming frustrated with the lack of competition north of the border.
“Celtic are a great club with a fantastic stadium and the fans are great,” he told reporters in his homeland.
“But the competition is not too good.
“I want to develop. If the opportunity is there, I would definitely consider a transfer.
“But maybe there will be nothing.”
Sunderland will be in the market for defensive reinforcements this summer, regardless of which division they are in.
Veterans Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere are out of contract, while Sebastian Coates and Santiago Vergini are only on loan, albeit the latter is likely to pen a two-year permanent contract with the club.
But if Sunderland avoid relegation and choose to make a move for van Dijk, they will be reluctant to meet Celtic’s asking price for a player untested in the Premier League.