Van Dijk is already rated as one of the best centre-backs to have ever played in the Premier League. However, his career could've been a lot different if Warnock didn't listen to his scout.
When the Dutchman left Celtic Park for Southampton in 2015, the former Crystal Palace manager told Mirror Sport, as cited by Anfield Watch's Twitter account, that he could've signed him for the bargain price of £5 million.
"The one that got away from me was Virgil van Dijk. I got offered him when I was at Crystal Palace for £5 million. But my chief scout said he was too slow and he ended up at Southampton instead!
"It’s a shame because anything he may lack in pace, he makes up for 10-fold in his ability to read the game."
Chris Sutton on Virgil van Dijk:
"Van Dijk is my Player of the Year. Liverpool are a totally different team with him in their defence. He is the best centre back in the world and him being fit is a massive boost." #awlive [mail] pic.twitter.com/3Yw51EgvC5
Anfield Watch Verdict
The butterfly effect is a very interesting thing. Imagine if Van Dijk signed for Crystal Palace and Neil Warnock never played him because he was 'too slow'.
One thing it does prove is whoever that scout was probably shouldn't be in the job of identifying talented players.
Van Dijk was named runner-up for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, which highlights just how good he is.
Thankfully Van Dijk went on to play for Southampton and then eventually Liverpool.
Who'd have thought when Van Dijk was at FC Groningen (2010-13) that he'd have a legend of the game say he's the best centre-back in the world.
"I love him. In my opinion, he is the best defender in world football at this moment. I have lots of love and respect for him, and he is an amazing player," Ronaldinho told SportBible, as cited by Anfield Watch on Twitter.
Hopefully Van Dijk can continue performing to a high standard for Liverpool in the years to come.