Virgil van Dijk has become one of the best defenders in world football but things could have been very different for him if he’d decided to move to Manchester City, who didn’t see him as an instant starter.
Many people thing that Virgil van Dijk deserves to win this year’s Ballon d’Or prize and in fairness they’d have a very good argument to make considering what he’s won and done this year.
It’s only 18 months since he joined Liverpool from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender of £75 million and he’s completely changed the Reds backline.
Things could have been a lot different with Manchester City also wanting to sign Van Dijk in January 2018. However reports from back then show that Pep Guardiola initially wanted him only as third choice:
Liverpool ended up signing the player, and that might be to do with the fact that those reports suggest City would only bid £60 million for the Dutchman, and so Guardiola had to look elsewhere.
City ended up signing Aymeric Laporte for £57 million, then the club’s record transfer, and the Frenchman played just nine Premier League games that season, proving that Van Dijk wouldn’t have gone straight into their starting line up.
The former Celtic defender would have got instant gratification last season when the Reds beat their English rivals in the Champions League, before going on to the final.
Laporte did replace Otamendi at the beginning of last season and retained his spot in Guardiola’s first choice XI as City retained their title.
Stones was alongside him at the beginning of the season but Vincent Kompany returned for the title run in and the FA Cup final.
The Englishman’s troubles in the Nations League semi final were in stark contrast to Van Dijk’s performance and it was proof that City should have gone all out for the then Southampton defender.
Imagine how much more difficult it would be for anyone to catch City with Van Dijk in the team?