Virgil Van Dijk Celtic
Celtic defender Virgil Van Dijk is wanted by Arsenal manager Arsene WengerReuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has moved one step closer to inking a deal for Virgil Van Dijk by starting talks with Celtic over a move for the defender in the January transfer window.

A central defender is thought to be the priority for Arsenal in January, with the team currently only having two recognised central defenders in Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Wenger has been forced to use the likes of Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, who has looked most comfortable in that position, at centre-back owing to injury problems to Koscielny, and in order to douse the injury crisis fire, a central defender who can give competition to the first-choice players is expected to be signed.

Van Dijk is right up there amongst the main targets, with Arsenal thought to have had a bid rejected by Celtic on deadline day of the summer transfer window, as Wenger moved to sign a replacement for the departed Thomas Vermaelen, who signed for Barcelona.

Wenger, though, is ready to go back for the Dutch defender in January with the manager ready to make a firm move for Van Dijk, according to the Daily Star.

Celtic, though, will not let go of their player that easily, having already rejected one offer in the summer.

Much will depend on how keen Van Dijk is to move to Arsenal in January, having already admitted to being flattered at the interest from the Emirates.

The 23-year-old has plenty of potential and could form a long-term partnership with Chambers at the back, but the worry for Wenger will be on how to judge him

It is quite clear the Scottish Premiership is not the greatest of barometers to judge a player, and Wenger would have probably identified Van Dijk as a viable target more on the talent than the quality of opposition that he faces in Scotland.

However, with none of the big names likely to be available for sale in January, chief of them being Mats Hummels, who is also wanted by Manchester United, the Arsenal manager might have little choice but to go with a player like Van Dijk, who has plenty of potential but is yet to prove it at the highest level.

Having succeeded with the signing of Chambers, though, Wenger might think it is a gamble worth taking, as long as the transfer fee does not get out of hand, with Arsenal also desperately needing a strong defensive midfielder.

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