Virgil Van Dijk cost Liverpool £75million from Southampton in January (Picture: Getty)Arsenal turned down the chance to sign Virgil van Dijk from Celtic when he would have cost just £12million.
The Netherlands international was scouted by all of England’s major clubs during his time in the Scottish Premier League but only Southampton were prepared to take the gamble and eventually brought him south of the boarder three years ago.
According to former Celtic assistant manager John Collins, Arsene Wenger had been keen on Van Dijk but the club’s now former chief scout, Steve Rowley, thought the elegant centre-half was too ‘nonchalant’.
‘Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,’ Collins told beIN Sport. ‘Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes.
‘He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air. He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.
‘Gary McAllister was the assistant to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and I told him I hope you’re going to come and take Virgil but Brendand didn’t fancy him and didn’t think he was better than what he already had.
‘He would’ve cost around £12m – every team watched him regularly but the worry was he was showing it against Scottish players but you could tell he was strong, powerful and a well balanced player.’
Van Dijk ultimately moved to Anfield in January for a world record £75m and has cemented his reputation as one of the best defenders in world football.
The 27-year-old has been an ever-present in Liverpool’s 100% start to the new season, a run which was extended following Saturday’s 3-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.
Virgil van Dijk was consoled by his teammates (Picture: Reuters)
Virgil can Dijk was replaced by Joe Gomez in the 55th minute (Picture: Getty)Van Dijk was substituted 10 minutes into the second half with a rib injury, but Jurgen Klopp is hoping he will be available for a critical run of fixtures which sees Liverpool play Chelsea twice, Napoli and Manchester City.
‘He had already before the PSG game a bruise on his ribs which is very uncomfortable, and today had another hit there,’ said Klopp.
‘It’s not cool, but it should not be too serious. He said he couldn’t shout anymore, and that’s obviously 60% less his level!
‘He should be absolutely okay, hopefully. I didn’t hear anything different.
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