Darren Fletcher claims he told Pulis to sign Virgil van Dijk from Celtic

Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion reads a note during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns on May 12, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.

Virgil van Dijk could have been a West Bromwich Albion player in 2015.

Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion reads a note during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns on May 12, 2017 in West Bromwich, England.

Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Darren Fletcher has revealed to Sky Sports that he told Tony Pulis to sign Virgil van Dijk from Celtic – but the club thought he was too expensive.

Van Dijk, 27, has emerged as arguably the Premier League's top centre back in recent times, with his January move to Liverpool catapulting him into that stratosphere.

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The Dutchman has almost single-handedly turned Liverpool from a shambles at the back into one of the league's most impressive units, with his leadership and outstanding ability in every facet of the game completely revolutionising Liverpool.

 

Liverpool forked out £75million to sign Van Dijk from Southampton in January, paying a world-record fee for a defender, and so far it has proven to be money well spent by Jurgen Klopp.

Van Dijk had initially made his name with Celtic, and whilst some doubted whether he could step up from Scottish football to the Premier League, he made a 2015 move to Southampton, where he became a star.

Southampton ended up selling Van Dijk for around seven times what they paid for him, less than three years on from his arrival, and clubs will no doubt the regretting not signing him from Celtic.

Now, ex-West Bromwich Albion midfielder Fletcher has revealed that not only did he recommend his former Manchester United teammate Jonny Evans to the club, but also told then-manager Pulis to go and sign Van Dijk from Celtic in 2015.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on November 3, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.

West Brom weren't in a position to pay the money Celtic wanted though, and the rest is history – but Fletcher did note that Van Dijk is a 'monster' who cruises through games thanks to his incredibly ability.

“He’s made a massive difference to Liverpool, he’s a monster as well,” said Fletcher. “He’s so big and powerful, he cruises through games - he’s top class.”

“With my Scottish connections, I watched him play for Celtic. We were looking at centre backs after the first summer we’d been there, and I was recommending Jonny Evans, who we managed to get, which was fantastic. And I also said ‘go and get Van Dijk’, I think it was before he went to Southampton for £10m, £11m - obviously West Brom felt it was a little bit too much,” he added.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on September 29, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.

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