Manchester United were fortunate enough to sign Virgil van Dijk just six months before his move to Liverpool… but opted for Victor Lindelof instead.
That’s according to Van Dijk’s former Southampton teammate Charlie Austin who dropped the transfer bomb during his first appearance on talkSPORT Breakfast.
Van Dijk’s knee injury has left a huge hole in Liverpool’s squad this season, with the Dutchman becoming one of the Reds’ most important players and one of the best center-backs in the world since his 75million move. sterling at Anfield in January 2018.
But Austin has revealed he could have gone to Old Trafford instead, if United had followed the former Saints man’s interest the year before.
The Red Devils were said to have followed the Dutchman in the summer of 2017, as Jose Mourinho looked to strengthen their back line, but ultimately chose Benfica defender Lindelof for around £ 40million.
Speaking at Monday’s talkSPORT breakfast, Austin said: “I remember at the end of his career at Southampton we were on the bench together at Chelsea, I asked him: ‘Come on Virg, that is it happening? Man United surely must have been for you?
“He said to me: ‘You know what, Chaz, the summer was between me and Lindelof, and they signed Lindelof’.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding!’
“I don’t know if anyone knows that. I couldn’t believe it, I was amazed
“We talked this summer that he was going to go, but they went to take Lindelof instead.
“At the time, manager Mauricio Pellegrino put everyone on the pitch in the preseason, including Virg, and he said to everyone, ‘look guys, Virgil wants to go, the club doesn’t allow him to leave, so he doesn’t. go play. He’s not going to train with us ”.
“I remember Virg was stunned because there was no warning from the manager, nothing, he just said, ‘you’re going to train there with the physical trainer and the physio’ .
“In the end, he didn’t budge this summer, two days later the transfer window was closed and Virg was relaunched on Saturday.
“He apologized to the guys, but we were all like, ‘Virg, we understand, you’re linked with Man United and Liverpool and you wanted to go, that’s great for us. We were just happy that he was still there because of the quality he brought to the team.
When asked if he would have joined Man United, Austin added: “I’m not sure I think he cared about Liverpool.”