SUNDERLAND target Virgil van Dijk expects to still be a Celtic player after tonight’s transfer deadline.
The Black Cats have been scouting van Dijk extensively this season after a failed approach for the centre-half during the summer.
They are not alone, with Arsenal and Southampton also keeping tabs on van Dijk who was a target for Gus Poyet when he was Brighton manager and the Dutchman was emerging at FC Groningen.
But Sunderland are understood to have opted against making a move in this window, while Celtic have been determined to hold onto van Dijk until the summer, when they hope to recoup a fee around the £8million mark.
After Celtic’s Old Firm victory over Rangers yesterday, Van Dijk said: “Interest is fine, it’s always good to have people watching you but I can do nothing with interest and it looks like Celtic don’t want to sell me so it looks like I’m staying here.
“I’m happy here of course because Celtic is an amazing club and I love being here.”
However, Sunderland are expected to make a move for van Dijk at the end of the season, when the Black Cats will be in the market for defensive recruits.
Veteran defender Wes Brown’s contract comes to an end in the summer, while Sebastian Coates and Santiago Vergini are only at the Stadium of Light on loan, albeit there is a clause to make the latter’s deal permanent.