Davie Hay: Future of star Celtic duo is key to new man's plan

RONNY DEILA has wasted no time getting his feet under the table in the manager's office at Lennoxtown.

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Celtic boss Ronny Deila will be hoping Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk will be returning to play at Parkhead next season
Celtic boss Ronny Deila will be hoping Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk will be returning to play at Parkhead next season

He will be itching to get going, and the 11 days until the players report back from their holidays will seem like an eternity.

But the two men he will be desperately hoping to see return to the club will be Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk.

Ronny will already be aware they are the pair most likely to join the list of players who have sold for huge profits by the club.

But he will be equally as aware they are the two he can least afford to do without as they are such pivotal parts of the current team, especially when Celtic compete in Europe.

Whether Neil Lennon had stayed or not, the situation remains the same.

If the right offers come in, they will be sold. That's simply how it is at the club with the way their business plan is structured.

That would be a tough enough scenario for a manager who has been in he job for four years.

But, it would be even worse for a new man trying to get to grips with the squad he has at his disposal and facing the challenge of Champions League qualifiers right from the off.

Listening to Peter Lawwell as Ronny was being officially introduced last week, there were enough hints at what the situation is.

He is right when he says that, while Celtic are under no pressure to sell, there is nothing they can do if a they receive a massive offer and player is offered three or four times his current salary to move elsewhere.

The reality is that Celtic can't - and shouldn't attempt to - match that kind of money.

They can - hopefully - offer Champions League football, which is a big attraction.

But, for many players, the quadrupling of their wages can make that prospect something they are willing to forego.

For now, it is all speculation, of course. The acid test will come along with the concrete offers.

Fraser and Virgil have certainly done enough to attract interest. But definite offers are something else again.

The big keeper is the only player in England's squad in Brazil who doesn't play in the Barclays Premier League, and you can be sure he will be hearing plenty about what is on offer down there.

His counter argument can be that, he has already been there with Newcastle. And, if he had remained at St James' rather than accept the offer to join Celtic, he would not be in Brazil.

Fraser might be third-choice - but that's a whole lot better than being fourh-choice and back at home, as John Ruddy will testify.

He has been given a chance and a platform at Celtic. But, again listening to Peter Lawwell last week, there is a feeling his future has perhaps already been mapped out.

The news Celtic are considering signing Craig Gordon is another indication Fraser's time at the club may be over.

It would be something of a gamble, however, given Craig's injury problems over the past couple of years.

And it's perhaps no surprise we have also been reading Ronny is being linked with his keeper back at Stromsgodset, Larsen Kwarasey.

A manager really does need to have faith in his keeper, and Ronny made Larsen his captain.

He is also in Brazil, with Ghana, so any move for him might be delayed until they are out of the World Cup.

Introducing a new keeper at any time is difficult because it is such an important position. But, if Celtic had to replace Fraser and Virgil, clearly, it would double the problem.

The big Dutchman has been in the news over the past few days for alleged issues away from football.

This will remind him that, as a Celtic player, whatever you do is going to become public knowledge, especially in these days of social networking.

Virgil has enjoyed a very good first season at the club, but I really believe he would benefit from staying for at least one more year because there is further development possible, and would he realise that potential if he wasn't playing every week for a club down south?

If the pair of them are intent of going, a possible compromise might be for them to agree to stay until after the Champions League qualifiers and play-off matches.

Virgil and Fraser would then know if they had six group stage games to look forward to or not.

Even if they still decided they wanted to go, at least they would have helped Celtic qualify for the big money which makes such a difference to their financial year and football season.

If they do go, it will have to be for the right money, and this would give Ronny more funds with which to make additions to his squad.

But I'm sure he would prefer to have Fraser and Virgil in his side. That way, he knows the squad would only need tweaked, not radically rebuilt.

Football

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