Arsenal could have signed Virgil van Dijk for just £12million but turned down the chance to buy him because he was “too nonchalant”.
Van Dijk is now the world’s most expensive defender after completing his £75million move to Liverpool from Southampton.
He has been a rock for the Reds which has led to former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise claiming he is the best centre-back in the world.
The Dutchman first came to prominence when he moved to Celtic in June 2013 before moving to the south coast in September 2015.
However, it has emerged Van Dijk could have joined Arsenal instead of Southampton but the Gunners’ chief scout Steve Rowley decided against signing him.
Former Celtic assistant boss John Collins told beIN Sport: “Arsenal’s chief scout thought he [Van Dijk] was too nonchalant.
“Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes.
“He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air.
“He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.
However, Collins also claimed former Reds manager Brendan Rodgers also turned down the chance to sign Van Dijk.
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He added: “Gary McAllister was the assistant to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and I told him, ‘I hope you’re going to come and take Virgil’ but Brendan didn’t fancy him and didn’t think he was better than what we already had.
“He would’ve cost around £12m. Every team watched him regularly but the worry was he was showing it against Scottish players but you could tell he was strong, powerful and a well balanced player.”
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