Defending Premier League champions Manchester City missed out on the opportunity to sign centre-back Virgil van Dijk, former Celtic manager Ronny Deila revealed. Van Dijk joined Liverpool in 2018 and has gone on to become a mainstay in Liverpool's quest for glory in Europe and in England.
While speaking to Si Ferry’s Open Goal, former Celtic manager Ronny Deila claimed that he advised Man City to move for Van Dijk before he left Celtic. Van Dijk was signed by Premier League side Southampton in 2015 for a reported fee of £13 million ($15 million) when Ronald Koeman was managing the Saints. After, two and a half years at Southampton, Man City tried to sign the defender, with Pep Guardiola eyeing the Dutch centre-back to replace the outgoing Vincent Kompany. However, this time around, Van Dijk agreed to a £75 million ($91 million) move to Liverpool instead.
Ronny Deila claimed that he advised Man City to sign Van Dijk when was manager of Celtic. Man City, in turn, asked the tactician to show them Van Dijk's best performance in Europe in order for them to get an idea of his playing style. However, Deila could not comment further, citing the reason that the defender did not have a great display for his team when they played in Europe. He was very dominant in Scotland, but was sent off during a game against Inter Milan, said Deila.
Diella claimed that had Van Dijk played the entire game against Inter Milan, Man City would have signed him. The New York City manager further asserted that major European giants feel that the quality of football is extremely low in Scotland, which is why they do not risk signing emerging youngsters. Such youngsters need to perform in Europe to invite interest from the clubs, something which Van Dijk failed to do during his time in Scotland.
Since his arrival at Liverpool, Van Dijk has established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League. He has played in two Champions League finals while winning the previous title against Tottenham in his first complete season with the Reds. With Van Dijk forming the spine of the Liverpool defence, Liverpool are on the verge of clinching their first-ever Premier League title this season.