BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has refused to rule out a seven-figure move for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk.
Speaking after watching his English Premier League side defeat Hearts 3-1 at Tynecastle on Sunday, the former Motherwell midfielder confessed he is in the market for a new central defender.
The Spaniard was unwilling to speak directly about van Dijk, for whom the Toffees are reportedly willing to pay Celtic’s £10 million asking price.
But, with John Stones the subject of big-money interest from Chelsea and Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz having both left in the summer, Martinez has admitted it is a position he is looking to fill.
He said: “That’s the nature of this period, you are going to be linked with players.
“I don’t enjoy talking about other players when they are not at our football club and I will never be disrespectful in that manner.
“Our squad is not completed, we are still looking for two positions and we need to make sure they fit in exactly in the group, in the manner we want and expect as footballers and human beings.
“But in terms of speaking about names, as you can understand, I wouldn’t be able to.”
Van Dijk has also been linked with interest from Southampton, and Martinez added: “Central defence is one of those positions. Two experienced centre-halves left the squad, so we need to fill those gaps.
“I’m still assessing two of the young players we’ve got in the squad, but maybe we need another new face in centre-half.
“We will wait as long as we can to select the person we want.”