Ex-teammate reveals who Manchester United chose over Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

There have been many transfer windows where many talented prospects have been linked with a move to Old Trafford, only to exaggerate the saying that all rumours are not true. If talking from the perspective of club stature and worldwide status, Manchester United are probably the biggest club on the planet.

United have a brilliant scouting network working on a regular basis around Europe and further to spot the aspiring talents. And there have also been many instances where United have had presented with two options for one single position.

Talking about these kind of circumstances always remind us of the time when the Red Devils were looking for the successor to Edwin van der Sar. The man in charge of United’s managerial throne, Sir Alex Ferguson was given an opportunity to sign either Manuel Neuer or David de Gea in 2011.

United chose the latter, signing the Spaniard from Atletico Madrid for what was a British record fee for a goalkeeper of around £18.9 million back then. In the summer of 2017 when Jose Mourinho was the manager of the Red Devils, something similar occurred.

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Manchester United’s Virgil van Dijk mistake

As told by the former Southampton striker Charlie Austin — currently on loan at Queens Park Rangers from West Bromwich Albion — in an interview with TalkSport, Manchester United had a chance to sign Virgil van Dijk in the summer transfer window of 2017. But they went for Swedish international Victor Lindelof instead of the Dutch superstar:

"“I remember in the back end of his Southampton career, we were on the bench at Chelsea away. I was sat there (and said), ‘Come on Virg, what’s going on? Surely Man United must have been in for you? It’s a massive club in England’. “And he said, ‘In the summer it was between me or Lindelof. And they signed Lindelof. No-one knows that’. I couldn’t believe it. I was gobsmacked. “There was talk in the summer about whether he was going to go there and they’ve gone and taken Lindelof instead.”"

Van Dijk joined Liverpool in 2018 for what was a then-record transfer fee of £75 million. He has already helped Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool win a Champions League, a Club World Cup and a Premier League title, evolving the Reds’ defence into an indomitable brick wall.

On the other hand, Lindelof has been an integral part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current United side. Despite having struggled with some injury issues of late, the Swede has made 22 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils in what is looking like a fruitful campaign for the twenty-time English champions.

But even then, you have to feel that if they had the ability to go back in the past, United would take Van Dijk in a heartbeat.