It mind sound over dramatic to suggest that one game can make or break a career, but it might not be as ridiculous as it sounds.
If a player wants to attract the attention of a bigger club then they need to take any chances they have to shine on the big stage, as one bad performance will cause a club to lose interest.
It sounds like that was the case with Vigil van Dijk and Man City, as they tried to decide if he was worth taking a punt on.
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Former Celtic boss Ronny Deila’s comments were reported by The Sun, and clearly he was trying to tout the Dutch defender to Man City:
“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 understandable that the biggest clubs will want to see a potential transfer target prove themselves at a smaller team in their league first, even if it ends up costing the in a financial sense.
Van Dijk is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, so it’s obvious that Man City would love to have him in their team right now.
Clearly that game against Inter Milan was a disaster and ruined his chances of moving to The Etihad, so it’s fascinating to think how different the current title race would be if Liverpool didn’t have van Dijk.