If Brendan Rodgers wants to change our fortunes, and turn us back into the team of last year, then he needs to seriously consider the future of those vying for the centre-back roles within the team. If he decides to cut his losses and try claw back some of the money spent on Lovren, then he needs to think about who comes in to replace him – and any others that leave the club.
The somewhat disappointing business done last summer means that Rodgers is under serious pressure to make sure that £20m doesn’t get spent on another player that takes a year to adapt. Luckily for him, there is arguably the perfect option just north of the border.
Virgil van Dijk is having an incredible season for Celtic – one that if it hadn’t been for Josh Meekings’s handball in the Scottish Cup semi-final, may have resulted in a treble – and he may therefore be the answer to our defensive troubles. At 23, the Dutchman has plenty of time to get better, and could potentially form a formidable partnership with Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho or even Emre Can in 2015/16.
And it’s not just his age that helps van Dijk tick a box that would be desirable to Rodgers. Those who argue that the SPL is not a strong enough standard to judge the quality of players that stand out in it just need to look at what he has achieved this season.
Ronny Deila’s men have conceded just 17 goals in the league, almost once every two games, with can Dijk almost ever present.
And it is not just at the back where the former Groningen man stands out. His passing is assured, and when required, adventurous. Plus, there are few defenders – with the exception of David Luiz perhaps – who are better at taking a free-kick. Wednesday’s set piece against Dundee was his tenth goal of the season in all competitions, a quite remarkable return from a centre-back.
According to BBC Sport, van Dijk has two years left on his current deal at Parkhead, and while he is determined to keep his head down until the season is over, he confessed that if the right club came along, he would consider the offer.
“I’m not in a rush, but, if the opportunity is there, you never know because it’s football,” he said, reported by BBC Sport.
Physically, technically and profile wise, van Dijk fits the bill, and he wouldn’t cost an outrageous fee either because he plays in Scotland.
Worth a punt, Reds?