Micah Richards has admitted that he “can’t believe” Man City didn’t take a chance on Virgil van Dijk during his Celtic days.
Van Dijk has arguably become the world’s best centre-back after coming on leaps and bounds in the English Premier League. With an impressive two years unde rhis belt at Parkhead, Virgil moved on to Southampton in a £13million move [BBC]. From there, he continued to impress at St Mary’s and ultimately ended up signing for Liverpool in 2017 in what was a world-record £75m deal [BBC].
The rest is history. Van Dijk has now managed to win the Premier League and the Champions League with the Anfield club already. And despite being sidelined for the 2020/21 campaign through injury, Liverpool have clearly suffered without his presence at the back.
Richards was talking about him on Match of the Day’s top 10 podcast, as he outlined his belief that City had missed a big opportunity:
“He could be the greatest ever, maybe it’s getting a bit late now in terms of age and he’s had his injury but he had an instant impact – there’s no question marks over him, he can do everything.
“I can’t believe when he was at Celtic that Manchester City didn’t take a little punt on him.”
Micah Richards regret won’t be a lesson learned by English clubs
He won’t be the only one that English clubs will regret not taking a punt on. Van Dijk’s rise to the top won’t have surprised anyone at Celtic, given how head and shoulders above everyone else he was in Glasgow.
But don’t expect the English elite to have learned their lesson either. It depends on where you rank Arsenal, but for me Kieran Tierney didn’t sign for one of England’s current elite either. In terms of signing for a side immediately challenging for the title, Tierney was also overlooked.
As was Moussa Dembele, who went to Lyon instead. There didn’t appear to be any serious offers for his services either. That’s something that the Premier League as a whole moved out on, and it remains to be seen if the same happens to Odsonne Edouard.
Even if our transfer sales have gone up in price in recent years, we’re still looked down upon in a snobby fashion. Clubs down south still think twice before splashing a reasonable amount on a player from Scottish football. Instead of looking at the player’s actual attributes, they’ll instead just look at his competition.
That’s where so many missed the ball on van Dijk. And it’s where so many will likely miss the ball on Edouard just as they did with Dembele and Tierney.
At the very least, it’s refreshing to hear Richards come out with these comments.