Celtic today confirmed that the club had reached an agreement for the transfers of Virgil van Dijk and Anthony Stokes to leave the club on permanent deals.
van Dijk and Stokes Depart Celtic Park
van Dijk, who joined the club from FC Groningen for £2.6m in 2013, is joining Premier League side Stoke City for a fee of £6,250,000 – which could potentially rise to £7,600,000 depending on appearances.
The Dutch centre back had been a mainstay in the back line since joining the club, and a career at the highest level always looked likely for someone that possesses his talent. Upon leaving the club, van Dijk told the club’s website that he ‘really enjoyed his time at the club’.
’I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Celtic, the other players, staff and fans, you have been a pleasure to work with and play for. I really enjoyed my time at the club, but the opportunity to play in the Premier League was too good to reject. I wish Celtic the best, and I look forward to hopefully meeting you in the Champions League one day.
The 23 year old Dutchman started his career with Williem II Tillburg, but never made an appearance for the club, and subsequently moved to FC Groningen for an undisclosed fee. He spent three years with the Dutch side, making 62 league appearances and putting the ball into the back of the net 7 times.
He then moved to Celtic, making 71 appearances and scoring 9 times in two years before leaving for Stoke.
Anthony Stokes has joined Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth for a fee of £2,000,000, but subject to conditions, that fee could rise to £2,600,000. The Republic of Ireland international, who had been at Celtic Park for five years, played second fiddle to the likes of Gary Hooper for much of his time with the Bhoys, but once Hooper left the club he came into his own, netting prolifically for the Glaswegian side.
’To join a club like Bournemouth is dream come true. It’s a great feeling to know you are going to make history and play for the club in its first season in the Premier League. The club has an exciting idea and project and that’s what convinced me to join. I had a great time at Celtic, and won lots of trophies, but now it’s time for me to move on.
Stokes started his career with Arsenal, but never made a senior appearance for the club, and made his name on a loan spell with Falkirk, where he scored 14 times in 16 appearances. This form earned him a move to Sunderland in a £2 million deal, but he struggled to hold down a place in the Sunderland first team.
He moved back to Scottish football when Hibernian signed him for £500,000 in August 2009. He again enjoyed success in the SPL, scoring over 20 goals in his only full season with Hibs. Stokes moved to boyhood heroes Celtic shortly after the start of the following season, for a fee of around £1.2 million.
He spent 5 years at Celtic Park, and was a prolific scorer, making 134 league appearances and netted 58 times, but Ronny Deila saw him as unneeded for the upcoming season, due to the plethora of attacking options and the signing of Berbatov.