BRENDAN RODGERS has revealed he wanted to buy Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool.
The Celtic boss tried to bring the classy centre-half to Anfield while he was still playing in Holland.
Rodgers admitted: “When I was at Liverpool I asked about van Dijk and he was at Groningen and then at Celtic.
“But I was told (by club scouts) he wouldn’t be for us at the time. It’s about where the player is at, at the time of their ability.
“Virgil van Dijk could have jumped from Celtic to Liverpool.
“Some clubs will want to see the players tested at certain arenas first.“You could see with van Dijk that he was quick, strong, good on the ball and decent in the air.
“So what more do you need to see? You could see him playing international football and, okay, clubs may want to see him in Champions League.”
Southampton’s ex-boss Ronald Koeman travelled to Parkhead to watch his fellow-Dutchman in action in European ties before agreeing to pay £13million for him in September 2015.
It represented good business by the Hoops who had signed him from Groningen for £2.6million in June 2013 The club also have a 10 per cent sell-on clause in his transfer agreement.
Now the 25-year-old international defender is being rated in the £50million bracket and is on the radar of Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Van Dijk has been sidelined with an ankle injury in recent weeks and could be out for the remainder of the campaign.
However, that won’t stop the big-money clubs clamouring for his signature in the summer.