It’s common for stories to come out about every great player and how the could’ve signed for someone else.
Almost every player who shows talent will be on the radar or top clubs in some way, but often it will come down to waiting for someone else to take a chance on them first.
The best clubs have a lot of money, so it makes sense for them to wait for a smaller team in the same league to take a chance on someone stepping up, and then they will pay through the nose to sign them.
That happened with Virgil van Dijk when he went to Liverpool after proving himself at Southampton, but it sounds like things could’ve been very different.
The Sun looked at some comments from former Celtic boss Ronny Deila about his time in charge of the club, and Man City were seriously interested in the Dutchman:
“Did I get in touch with City? Yes. I said you have to take him. They said, ‘okay, tell me the best European game he has played and we will watch it.”
“I couldn’t tell them what game that was because he hadn’t any real good European games. He was really dominant in Scotland but he got sent off against Inter away”
“That was a big test. I think if he had played fantastically in that game, he would have been bought. I think the big clubs think Scottish football is too low level and they don’t want to take a chance on a player for that kind of money.”
“In Europe, then you can show how good you are. I think van Dijk was good, but he didn’t have that one really really good game in Europe.”
It’s probably a good thing for van Dijk that the move to City didn’t happen. We’ve seen in recent years that they loan players out to develop them and make a profit, so it’s hard to tell if he would’ve become the player he is now.
It really does show that one game can make or break a career at times though.