Queen’s Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion striker Charlie Austin has sensationally revealed to talkSPORT that Manchester United decided to sign Victor Lindelof over Virgil van Dijk.
Austin, who sealed a loan return to QPR this month though his time at West Brom is effectively over with a contract expiring this summer, made the revelation to Laura Woods on talkSPORT’s Breakfast show.
Austin spent three-and-a-half-years with Southampton, two of those as a teammate of Van Dijk’s, with the centre-forward sharing a conversation when they played Chelsea away.
Austin admitted that Van Dijk told him whilst they were on the bench against the Blues in the defender’s last few months with the Saints that a move to United in the summer of 2017 was on the cards.
Van Dijk told the experienced poacher that the Red Devils ultimately decided to sign Victor Lindelof for a fee of £31m instead, per BBC Sport.
???? “At #SaintsFC I said to Virgil that surely Man Utd had to be in for him.”
? “Virgil told me it was between him & Victor Lindelof…”
? “I’m not sure [if he wanted Utd move], his heart was set on #LFC.”
Charlie Austin reveals #MUFC chose to sign Lindelof over Van Dijk! ? pic.twitter.com/oWG9OSc0lj
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 25, 2021
Just six months later, Liverpool signed Van Dijk for a then world-record fee for a defender of £75m, per BBC Sport, in a figure that has since been eclipsed by Harry Maguire’s move to Old Trafford.
Whilst Liverpool fans will be left delighted with this insight and their United counterparts perhaps wondering ‘what if?’ – it’s worth noting that Austin admitted that the Dutchman had his ‘heart set’ on a move to Anfield, so the Red Devils may not have been able to secure the transfer anyway.
Van Dijk has helped Liverpool reestablish themselves as one of the world’s best teams under Jurgen Klopp, reaching two Champions League finals and coming away with one winner’s medal, as well as being the rock-solid presence that formed the foundation of their historic title-winning side.