Van Dijk Wants A Transfer To “Get European Football.” Let That Be A Lesson To Players Planning To Leave.

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Virgil Van Dijk has handed in a transfer request at Southampton.

I understand why, and most observers do.

There’s a £200,000 a week contract with his name on it waiting for him wherever he winds up.

Is he a better player than the one who left Celtic? Yes, he is. Is he one so good that he’s worth that kind of money? I very much doubt it.

But he says it’s not about the money, of course. He talks about how short a footballer’s career is, and he’s right, but then claims it’s about ambition. He says he wants to play European football again. This made me laugh out loud.

This is one of the things he knew full well might happen on the day he left our club. He left to “better his career” he said, but he went to a side that had only two principle advantages over ours; the EPL and the EPL money. Neither is a small thing, but primarily he left for the cash. I do not grudge him that, or any player, but Southampton was never going to play in the Champions League. They are a mid-table team at best.

It’s no surprise that his desire to leave has resulted in his asking to go. The way he left Celtic was ridiculous. The guy gave us two seasons and couldn’t wait to get away. The moment we were out of the Champions League you could see the writing was on the wall.

I understand it, but I never liked it.

I never thought he showed us any loyalty.

It doesn’t really matter; when he leaves Southampton we’ll net a nice chunk of change on top of what we took in for him in the original transfer fee.

The money is nice, but we’re in the football business, not the money business.

Having the player would have been nicer.

He has given Southampton two seasons; now he wants to leave again. Whichever EPL club he moves to next, and it looks like it might be Liverpool who have at 20/1 to win the league due to the imminent departure of Coutinho, ought not to count on him still being there when his contract terms expires. This guy has wanderlust. He’s not someone who’s going to go somewhere and stay there.

Fair play to him, he’s not really pretending otherwise – when he talks about a short career you know he intends to get as much from it as he can – but his comments should be a wake-up call to others.

Patrick Roberts is considering his options right now.

Southampton is one of them.

If he signs on there he might not see European football again for years.

Armstrong is another case in point; that team is on his list of Possibles as well.

The grass is not always greener.

There are plenty of players who didn’t realise just how big a club we were until they went somewhere else.

Virgil Van Dijk would have got his big move eventually; he’s that kind of player. Moussa Dembele will too and will have the latest on his movements.

The difference is, he’d have played European football – even Champions League football – in the meantime. The lesson for anyone who wants to go for “football reasons” is simple enough; there’s nothing they can achieve elsewhere that isn’t available to them at Celtic Park.

The money’s not as good … but for some players that’s never been the biggest consideration.

For others it’s the only one.

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