The Athletic have run a series of pieces recently surrounding the players clubs nearly signed – and exactly why they missed out on them.
We can imagine there’ll be a very lengthy one on Liverpool under Rafa Benitez shortly. (Simao, Dani Alves, David Silva, anyone?!)
According to a piece on Chelsea today, the Blues badly wanted Virgil van Dijk in 2017, when Liverpool were initially chasing the Dutchman – but for a number of reasons – they were never in contention, despite being Premier League champions.
Firstly, van Dijk preferred Jurgen Klopp’s personality over ‘hard taskmaster’ Antonio Conte, whose style of football was perceived as fairly negative to boot, Jack Lang writes.
Secondly, there was a worry Conte wouldn’t be at Chelsea long-term anyway, which proved to be the case, whereas Klopp is still contracted to Liverpool and will likely spend a decade at the helm.
Lastly, van Dijk had been charmed by Liverpool fans he met at Cardiff for the Champions League Final – and wanted to play for them!
There was a time when if Chelsea wanted a player, we were immediately out of the running. Remember in 2014 when they stole Mo Salah from our grasp…? But Klopp’s charisma and dreams changed all that.
Now, we’re arguably the number one destination for any top talent on the planet.