Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has been sensational since joining the club in January 2018.
The Dutchman was brought in by Jurgen Klopp for a world record fee for a defender of £75 million.
van Dijk’s signing has totally transformed Liverpool’s fortunes at the back, with the Reds having conceded just seven goals this season in 19 games.
He and Alisson’s influence at the back have helped the team become impenetrable, while the attacking players have continued to do what they do best.
Liverpool fans have been struggling to comprehend life before the ex-Southampton man’s arrival.
Things could have turned out very differently had they not got him, especially given one particular alternative.
The Times have published some names who were also being considered at the time of van Dijk’s transfer.
Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly was reportedly on the club’s ‘A-grade’ shortlist, as was Aymeric Laporte who eventually signed for Manchester City.
Most alarmingly though, Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng was also on that list.
A bullet dodged
Who knows where Liverpool would be now had they failed to capture van Dijk and instead signed Boateng.
The Germany international is a shadow of his former self these days and is no longer a regular for the Bavarians, with Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule and Javi Martinez his competition.
He’s made 11 appearances in the Bundesliga (all starts), but he hasn’t covered himself in much glory.
Boateng lacks mobility and very often has poor positioning which means he gets exploited by the faster strikers.
Supposedly Liverpool tracked 34 centre-halves for a period of 15 games each. van Dijk came out on top after the extensive research and thankfully the club were able to facilitate a successful move for their top choice.
With Laporte joining City, and Koulibaly proving difficult to dislodge from Napoli, the Reds could very easily have ended up with Boateng and not arguably the best defender in the world right now.