Manchester United turned down the opportunity to sign Virgil van Dijk, in favour of Victor Lindelof, according to Charlie Austin.
A whole host of clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester City were after van Dijk during the summer of 2017 and Austin, who was a teammate of the Dutch defender at the time, said he asked him about his situation when they were sitting on the bench during the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in December the same year:
“I sat there and was like ‘Virg lad, what’s going on? Surely Manchester United must have been in for you? Massive club in England etc’. He went ‘do you know what Chaz, in the summer it was like between me and Lindelof and they signed Lindelof’. I was like, ‘you are joking!’ I couldn’t believe it, I was gobsmacked. There was talk of him going there and then they have taken Lindelof instead.”
Van Dijk moved to Liverpool a couple of weeks later after that conversation. Reacting to the comments, supporters on Twitter were once again fuming at the club’s recruitment strategy in past transfer windows:
Ed Woodward masterclass
— Ben (@Authentic_Utd) January 25, 2021
Sack that scout
— Optimistic MUFC Fan (@ShashiManUnited) January 25, 2021
30 million or 80 million?
Which one do you reckon the Glazers would sanction? 🧐
— Karla Hilton (@KarlaHilton1) January 25, 2021
I didn't need to know this pic.twitter.com/RUkgLcBInL
— Bo. (@Utd_Bo) January 25, 2021
— Tobi Aró (@Aro_tobs) January 25, 2021
Omg. But move on 🔴
— ASG…. (@angadUTD) January 25, 2021
— 🇨🇰 Expresso Depresso 🇨🇰 (@CoastersTemmie) January 25, 2021
This is all on mourinho
— Rj (@99arjvn) January 25, 2021
All clubs makes transfer mistake. No point looking in hindsight.
— Tony @ mufc (@EverythingManc2) January 25, 2021
While it was a regrettable mistake at the time, there’s no point looking back at decisions that can’t be changed. The club have made better signings in recent windows and Lindelof hasn’t turned out to be a poor purchase by any means. However, having someone of van Dijk’s quality in the squad would certainly have been beneficial.