Date: 23rd September 2018 at 8:40am
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Arsenal reportedly turned down the chance to sign Netherlands international defender Virgil van Dijk for just £12m three years ago.

The Premier League side, who host Everton at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon (16:00) in the English top-flight, were linked with the former Celtic centre-back before he signed for league rivals Southampton in September 2015.

The Dutchman scored seven goals in 80 games for The Saints, before sealing a £75m transfer to Liverpool in January 2018, making him the most expensive defender in football history.

Van Dijk, 27, who has played in all six of Liverpool’s league games so far this season, with Jurgen Klopp’s side boasting a 100 per cent record, limped off during the second-half of Saturday’s 3-0 win over Southampton.

Former Celtic assistant manager, John Collins, told beIN SPORTS that ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was keen on signing the Dutch defender back in 2015, but then Gunners chief scout, Steve Rowley, believed Van Dijk was “too nonchalant”.

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in action with Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

“Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,” Collins explained.

“Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes.

“He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air.

“He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.”

Collins continued, “Gary McAllister was the assistant to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and I told him I hope you’re going to come and take Virgil, but Brendan didn’t fancy him and didn’t think he was better than what he already had.

“He would’ve cost around £12m – every team watched him regularly but the worry was he was showing it against Scottish players but you could tell he was strong, powerful and a well balanced player.”

Written by Dan Church

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