Celtic have taken the unusual step of slamming a press story tonight, with a club official telling the media that Virgil Van Dijk remains our player and that no deal has been done to sell him to any club.
This announcement will be welcomed by all of our supporters, in the wake of a huge game on Tuesday night.
Whether Van Dijk stays or goes is a subject that will continue to dominate the headlines as we go forward to the transfer window, but it is inconceivable that any deal would have been struck in the run up to such an enormous game.
There are many reasons why such a deal would make no sense.
If the club goes through to the Groups then it’s not impossible that Van Dijk might turn down any move for him, in order to sample the biggest football competition in the world.
In that scenario there would also be no obvious financial reason to sell him in the first place, and Celtic fans may well look on any deal that was done in a highly negative light.
Most importantly, if the player himself wants to go and we’ve reached that Promised Land then our club would certainly be in a position to play hardball over the transfer fee, getting something from whoever buys him that is better than the insulting numbers quoted thus far.
When I read today’s stories that a deal had been struck what annoyed me most was the purported transfer fee, which frankly sounds offensive and cheapens not only the player but our club and Scottish football as a whole.
Van Dijk ought to be worth £15 million.
If he’s as highly rated as some claim the bids should start there.
This, of course, would be equally true if the player was to take part in six Group matches and prove himself worthy of that stage.
It is hard to think of a better scenario if we’re going to try and make a tidy profit out of the transfer deal.
This story reeked when I read it today.
I refrained from expressing my disgust over the move because I didn’t really believe our club could be so short-sighted as to have sanctioned it with so much at stake and so much potential upside from waiting until Wednesday morning before analysing the landscape.
This announcement surprises me but it was necessary and it is right.
I am delighted with Celtic for making it, not only for setting our minds at ease but also for letting the media know that we’re on to them and what their agenda is.
This was the hacks stirring it, and nothing more – a clear attempt to unsettle us on the eve of a crucial match.
We can now go forward to Tuesday night without further disruption.