Former Celtic manager Ronny Deila has been quoted as saying by The Scottish Sun that he suggested to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk that he should leave the Hoops for Manchester United or Manchester City, not for Southampton or Sunderland.
Van Dijk was on the books of Scottish Premiership side Celtic from the summer of 2013 until the summer of 2015 when he moved to Southampton in the Premier League for a transfer fee reported by BBC Sport to be worth £13 million.
The Netherlands international central defender was a massive success at the Saints and joined Liverpool in the January transfer window for a fee reported by The Guardian to be worth £75 million.
Former Celtic manager Deila, who worked with the 26-year-old centre-back at Celtic Park during the 2014-15 season and is now in charge of Valerenga, has revealed that he advised him to move to Manchester United or Manchester City, not to Southampton or Sunderland.
The Scottish Sun quotes Deila as saying: “Virgil was special. When I came in, I don’t think he was really fit. In training he was lazy. I told him he needed to work on being at 100 per cent every day.
“I said to him after that year when he was ready, ‘You are not going to go to Sunderland or Southampton — you go straight to Man City or Man United’. That’s how good he was and I told City that. I think they regret not signing him now.”
Success at Liverpool
Van Dijk is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, and the Dutchman has been superb for the Reds since his move in the January transfer window.