Virgil van Dijk Neil Warnock
Virgil van Dijk was labelled ‘too slow’ by Neil Warnock’s scout (Pictures: Getty)

Neil Warnock has revealed that he had the chance to sign Virgil van Dijk for just £5m when he was Crystal Palace manager, but was told the Dutchman was ‘too slow’ by his chief scout.

This came during Warnock’s second stint in charge of the Eagles in 2014 when Van Dijk was impressing for Celtic in Scotland.

The veteran boss had the chance to bring the commanding centre-back south of the border but opted against it on the advice of his scout, which proved to be pretty poor judgement.

Van Dijk moved to Southampton in 2015 for £13m and then on to Liverpool in January 2018 for £75m, where he has become one of the world’s best players, so Palace really did miss out.

‘The one that got away from me was Virgil van Dijk,’ Warnock told Mirror Football. ‘I got offered him when I was at Crystal Palace for £5million.

‘But my chief scout said he was too slow and he ended up at Southampton instead! It’s a shame because anything he may lack in pace, he makes up for 10-fold in his ability to read the game.’

Van Dijk has gone on to win the Premier League and Champions League with the Reds, adding an FA Cup and League Cup triumph this season, which he will remember fondly.

He tweeted earlier this month: ‘My season is done. A season that had tough moments, but most of all full of happy moments. Happy that I was able to contribute again, after being out for such a long time. I’m blessed and privileged and I really don’t take any of that for granted!

‘I will keep continuing to improve and to get better but now is time to rest and completely switch off. Thanks to my team mates, the staff and fans at LFC and Oranje, and I’ll see you next season.’

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