An ex-Celtic boss has recently claimed that Manchester City passed up the chance to land Virgil van Dijk before he first moved to England.
Van Dijk shining at Liverpool
Van Dijk has been plying his trade in the Premier League for just shy of five years now.
After impressing with Southampton, the commanding centre-half made the switch to Liverpool in January of 2018.
And whilst some may have baulked at the then world-record £75m Liverpool paid for the Dutchman’s services, van Dijk has since gone on to cement himself as one of the best defenders in world football.
The 2018/19 campaign, in which Liverpool clinched a club-record 97 points in the Premier League, and a sixth Champions League trophy, saw the former Southampton stopper secure a plethora of individual awards.
The 33-time capped international would also lose out on the 2019 Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi by just seven votes.
Man City turn down VVD
However, as mentioned above, if recent claims from Ronny Deila are to be believed, it could have been Manchester City who were benefiting from VVD’s meteoric rise, rather than rivals Liverpool.
Deila was Celtic boss for just shy of two years between 2014 and 2016.
As for van Dijk, he was on the Scottish powerhouse’s books between 2013 and 2015.
And before the 28-year-old made the switch to Southampton from Celtic, Deila claims that he personally got in touch with Man City, to urge them to move for the now-Liverpool standout.
However, Deila went on to reveal that the Sky Blues weren’t overly convinced by van Dijk, due to a combination of the Dutchman plying his trade in the SPL, and having not had any impressive displays in Europe under his belt:
“Did I get in touch with City? Yes. I said you have to take him. They said, ‘okay, tell me the best European game he has played and we will watch it’.
“I couldn’t tell them what game that was because he hadn’t had any real good European games. He was really dominant in Scotland but he got sent off against Inter away.
“That was a big test. I think if he had played fantastically in that game, he would have been bought.
“I think the big clubs think Scottish football is too low level and they don’t want to take a chance on a player for that kind of money. In Europe, then you can show how good you are. I think van Dijk was good, but he didn’t have that one really, really good game in Europe.”
Quotes via Goal.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.