Former Celtic manager Ronny Deila indicated that Virgil van Dijk was a game away from signing for Manchester City.
Deila spent two years as Celtic manager and is now in charge of Major League Soccer side New York City FC. He now revealed the details of the player’s transfer history.
“Did I get in touch with City? Yes,” Deila told Goal. “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 [Milan] away.
“That was a big test. I think if he had played fantastically in that game, he would have been bought.
“I think Van Dijk was good, but he didn’t have that one really, really good game in Europe.”
Van Dijk’s career thus almost took another path as Man City was offered a chance to sign a 28-year-old Celtic in 2014. But with no great game to show for himself, this did not happen.
During his time in Liverpool, the Netherlands International was perhaps the best defender in the world, having eventually joined Liverpool instead from Southampton in a £75 m deal two and a half years ago.