Ronald Koeman reveals worry over Virgil van Dijk signing

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has admitted he was worried about signing Virgil van Dijk from Celtic due to the gulf from playing in the Ladbrokes Premiership to the English Premier League.

Virgil van Dijk celebrates with team-mate Graziano Pelle during Southampton's match with Stoke on Saturday. Picture: Getty

The South Coast club courted the Dutch defender throughout the summer but were not able to prize him away from Parkhead until after Celtic had completed their (ultimately fruitless) Champions League qualifying campaign.

Koeman, a former Dutch international defender himself, was a great admirer of van Dijk’s talents, but couldn’t help worry whether the move would be too much of a step up. However, those concerns have proved to be unfounded, with the former Celtic star turning in a number of excellent performances in what’s been a promising debut season down south.

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Koeman told Monday Night Football: “My only worry with Virgil was that we signed him from Celtic in the Scottish league.

“It’s different from the Premier League. It makes it a little more tricky but he had experience of playing against Barcelona in the Champions League, so in the end there was no doubt about it.”

“He is strong, he’s fast and he’s important in the way we like to build-up [from the back].

“He is good at short passing, he has a good long pass and he has got a good partnership with Jose Fonte and last Saturday he was good in tandem with Ryan Bertrand.

“He is also a good header of the ball, has a good shot and is a good free-kick taker. He’s a very good centre-back.”

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