Pat Nevin reveals Celtic transfer situation which left him ‘surprised’ | Football | Sport
That is the view of former Chelsea and Everton winger Pat Nevin.
Van Dijk has been a key player for Liverpool this season as they look to topple Manchester City to claim their first Premier League title.
The 27-year-old has been recognised for his outstanding performances at the back for the Reds by being named on the six-man shortlist, for the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year award.
However, Nevin admitted he was shocked when the defender, who spent two years at Celtic, was sold to Southampton for a reported £13million transfer fee and was not taken by one of the top teams in the Premier League.
After spending three seasons at St Mary’s Van Dijk was sold to Liverpool for a then world record fee of £75m.
“Van Dijk has done all the things I thought he was going to do five years ago when he was at Celtic,” Nevin told BBC Sport.
“I spoke to a lot of people about him and was just really surprised that none of the big six clubs took him before Southampton did in 2015 because it was so obvious, he is just a Rolls Royce.
“His positional sense is just brilliant – he has got unbelievable pace which he rarely has to use, and he is always in the right place for crosses.
This year the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award is made up for footballers from only three clubs, Liverpool, City and Chelsea.
Liverpool are represented by Van Dijk and forward Sadio Mane.
City have three players on the list, midfielder Bernardo Silva, winger Raheem Sterling and striker Sergio Aguero.
And Chelsea forward Eden Hazard completes the list.
With six games left in the season Liverpool are one point behind City.
In Van Dijk’s 34 league appearances for the Reds this season, they have won 26 games, kept 17 clean sheets and only conceded 20 goals while he has been on the pitch.
And Nevin thinks the Dutch international will build on this campaign and improve next year.
“He has been brilliant but I suspect that he will be better next season,” he added.
“He can score from free-kicks and get more goals with his head too.”