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Steve Bruce reveals that he almost signed Virgil van Dijk during his time in charge of Hull

Virgil van Dijk

Steve Bruce has revealed that he tried to sign Virgil van Dijk during his time in charge of Hull.

The Newcastle (opens in new tab) boss takes his team to Anfield to face Van Dijk and Liverpool (opens in new tab) on Saturday afternoon.

The Dutchman has become one of the world's leading centre-halves after moving to Merseyside from Southampton (opens in new tab) for £75m in January 2018.

But things could have worked out very differently had Bruce succeeded in brining the former Celtic (opens in new tab) stopper to Hull.

“Virgil van Dijk: wow, what a player,” he said. “We all know how good Liverpool are up front but signing him and the keeper [Alisson] gave Liverpool the backbone they needed, just took them to the next level.

“I could have taken him [Van Dijk] to Hull. I had dinner with Kenny Dalglish and the owner of Celtic, Dermot Desmond, in Barbados – I’m name-dropping now –and Desmond was waxing lyrical about the best players he’s had. He was saying: ‘[Henrik] Larsson is definitely, definitely the best I’ve seen play for Celtic in my ownership but what I can’t understand is nobody has gone for Van Dijk.’

“I thought: ‘That’s interesting, he’s seen a lot of football over the last 12 years,’ so I tried to get him before he went to Southampton but I had no chance.”


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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).