Speaking in his new punditry role on Sky Sports, former boss Alan Pardew has admitted that he tried to bring star centre-back Virgil Van Dijk to Newcastle before he became an instant hit in the Premier League with Southampton.
The Dutch defender had had been linked with a move to Tyneside way back when during his days in Holland with Groningen and those rumours surfaced on the odd occasion over his time at Celtic.
And Pardew has now admitted that the club were watching him during before he secured an £13m move from Celtic to Southampton, believing he would have taken us forward if the club had taken the plunge to sign him:
“We looked at him when I was at Newcastle and we felt he would take us forward, even then. He’s controlled Southampton’s back four – he’s just got that kind of presence.
“As a manager you look at some players and you feel confident in his character that he will deliver.”
The Chronicle have since backed up Pardew’s claims, stating that he was indeed mentioned in ‘plenty of Newcastle transfer meetings’ – especially during Pardew’s final year at St James’ Park, however it is said that the club were unwilling to pay £13million. Ironic really given he was heavily linked with a £60m move to Liverpool over the summer!
As it turns out, we instead signed current captain Jamaal Lascelles from Forest that summer.
Given his rise to stardom on Tyneside, our decision to opt for Lascelles can hardly be met with regret, but there’s no doubt that we missed a trick in not taking the gamble on Van Dijk – a player who has it all and looks likely to go on to big things in the game.