Virgil van Dijk is arguably the best central defender in the Premier League right now and has made a huge difference to Liverpool’s defence following his £75m move from Southampton in January.
Yet, he could well have been making his mega-bucks switch from another club who play in red and white stripes, from the opposite end of the country.
The Sunderland Echo report that when Ronny Delia was in charge at Celtic, Sunderland saw multiple bids for the Dutch defender blocked.
Delia says he wanted van Dijk to go straight to an elite English club, but of course he went to St Mary’s first before a protracted transfer saga ended up with the Dutchman moving to Anfield at the start of this year.
Van Dijk’s performances in England and Sunderland’s plight means there is little point pretending he would still be in the north east now.
But given that the Saints pocketed a world-record transfer fee for a defender, it is not beyond the realms that Sunderland could have been the beneficiaries instead.
Given the Black Cats’ financial troubles, it would have been a welcome boost to the coifers at the Stadium of Light, but it just wasn’t meant to be…