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Jose Mourinho opted to sign Victor Lindelof over Virgil van Dijk while at Manchester United.
That is according to Charlie Austin who was team-mates with the Dutch defender while at Southampton.
Mourinho signed Lindelof in the summer of 2017, as he entered his second year at the club.
The Swede has played well at times for United but his credentials as a potential title-winning defender have often been questioned.
The same cannot be said of Van Dijk, who moved to Liverpool in the 2018 January transfer window and has gone on to win both the Champions League and Premier League.
And it seems as though United could have had the world-class centre-back for their own.
Recalling the story on talkSPORT, Austin said: “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."
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That same summer Liverpool did come in for Van Dijk, who handed in a transfer request, but were unsuccessful in obtaining the 29-year-old. They were forced to wait until January.
"The manager was there, [Mauricio] Pellegrino at the time, and in the summer he [Van Dijk] was looking to go," Austin explained.
"I remember he [Pellegrino] got everyone around at training, including Virg, and just came out and said ‘look lads, Virgil wants to go, we’re not allowing it and he’s said he’s not going to play, so he’s not going to train with us’.
"That was in front of everybody. There was no heads up from the manager. It was stamping his authority.
"He didn’t move in the summer, two days later the transfer window shut and Virg was starting again on the Saturday.
"He apologised to the lads but we were like ‘we understand, you were linked with Liverpool and you wanted to go’."
- Champions League
- Premier League
- Jose Mourinho
- Jurgen Klopp
- Virgil van Dijk
- Manchester United FC
- Liverpool FC
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