How different things would be right now if Arsenal made a move for Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk a couple of years ago. Virgil is not only one of the best defenders, but one of the finest players in the world right now after his good performances with Liverpool and the Netherlands national team.
He started gaining attention during his days with Scottish Premier League side Celtic after his transfer from Groningen and now is a key figure in Liverpool since joining on December 27th, 2017.
Back in the day, when he was still part of Celtic, Virgil delivered great performances every week, which prompted Premier League sides to turn their attention to him. One of those clubs were Arsenal, but the Gunners missed out on the chance to sign the center-back for a crazy reason.
In the end, Southampton landed van Dijk for a reported £13 million. Arsenal had the same opportunity, but they missed it. Why? Because he was too ‘nonchalant’.
That’s according to John Collins, Celtic’s assistant manager during the time of van Dijk’s transfer.
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In fact, Arsene Wenger showed interest in the giant defender but the club’s now-former chief scout, Steve Rowley, labeled van Dijk as too ‘nonchalant’.
“Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,” Collins told beIN Sport via Metro.
“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 Brendan 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.”
Following his good moments with Soton, Liverpool paid £75 million to land the towering defender, breaking the transfer record for a defender. Ever since that he’s become a key figure at Anfield, helping Liverpool becoming one of the biggest forces in Europe at this moment.