All these years, Virgil van Dijk has presumably been living in blissful ignorance of the fact that he, had fickle fortune smiled upon him, could have played under Neil Warnock.
Alas, thanks to a Sliding Doors moment in the Crystal Palace manager’s office in 2014, that alluring eventuality sadly never came to pass.
Indeed, Warnock, who was Palace boss at the time, was talked out of signing Van Dijk by his chief scout, who deemed the Celtic defender to be too cumbersome for the cut and thrust of the English Premier League.
Yammering away on TalkSport this morning, Warnock said:
When I was at Palace, it was difficult to sign players. I spent a month trying to sign James McArthur, let alone anybody else.
I went after the centre-half at Celtic, Van Dijk. They wanted £6million and I said ‘we’ve got to buy him, haven’t we?’
The chief scout went to watch him and said ‘he is not very quick, it’s Scottish football’.
Asked if Palace couldn’t afford to match the asking price, the 69-year-old replied:
Yeah, they could afford it, but they didn’t want to spend it. That was before Southampton came in for him.
As you may be aware, yesterday Van Dijk signed for Liverpool in a world record deal worth around £75million, thus netting Celtic roughly £7.5million in agreed-upon sell-on monies.
What might have been, eh? Cripes. It’s like watching Gwyneth Paltrow miss that bloody Tube train all over again.