Manchester United made a late attempt to sign Virgil Van Dijk after his Liverpool medical in 2017

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Virgil van Dijk's £75 million move from Southampton to Liverpool in January 2018 made him the world's most expensive defender. 

But, he's actually proved to be quite the bargain 

In his first full season at Anfield, the Dutchman has become Jurgen Klopp's most important man and has been key to their title challenge. 

Liverpool have moved back to the top of the Premier League after a 5-0 win against Huddersfield on Friday night - a game in which Van Dijk impressed again. 

But, things could be very different, had Manchester United had their way. 

Before the centre-back eventually moved to Merseyside, it was well-known that his time at Southampton was coming to an end and the league's top clubs were all monitoring his situation. 

Van Dijk's move to Liverpool was confirmed in December 2017, after he passed a medical - but on the very same day, United actually made an enquiry about his availability. 

"It is well known Manchester City were in for Van Dijk, while Chelsea and Arsenal both asked the question of Southampton," a report from the Daily Mail reads.  

Southampton v Everton - Premier League

"Now it transpires United did actually throw their hat into the ring and made an enquiry for Van Dijk.

"They wanted to know the terms of his deal but, as is typical of that club now, the question was asked on the day Van Dijk was undergoing his medical at Anfield. By then it was too far late."

It's those final three words that are key - and perhaps sum up the Manchester club's transfer failures over the last few seasons - they were simply far too late. 

Everton FC v Manchester United - Premier League

But United's loss was certainly Liverpool's gain.

This season, Van Dijk has put himself into the bracket of Europe's top defenders and is also expected to be named as the PFA Player of the Year on Sunday. 

He could well end up with a Premier League winners medal in a couple of weeks too. 

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