Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock has revealed he was denied the opportunity to sign Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk in 2014 for just £6m - due to concerns over the centre-back's pace.
Warnock was the manager of Crystal Palace at the time he identified the Dutch defender as a transfer target when he was plying his trade with Celtic, only for the deal to be blocked by a club scout.
Van Dijk, now 27, went on to join Southampton before Liverpool made him the most expensive defender in the world after agreeing a £75m deal in January - where he has quickly established himself as the Reds' defensive linchpin and captain in waiting.
The Netherlands skipper has been instrumental in Liverpool's unbeaten start to the Premier League season and has earned widespread praise as a result.
"Van Dijk - I'm delighted he's playing like he is," Warnock said, via the Liverpool Echo.
Liverpool have conceded 13 goals and kept 14 clean sheets in the 25 games Van Dijk has played in. This is a defense that was seen as the worst in top 6 prior to his arrival. When I tell you Van Dijk is the best defender in the world, you shouldn’t argue. 🤫— Hypocrites Everywhere (@Fin_Disu) October 26, 2018
"We could have bought him at Palace for £6m but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he's still in a job as well!"
Warnock was also on hand to express his admiration for the steady progress Jurgen Klopp has made with his side since taking the helm in late 2015.
“I like the way he is. He cares, he is passionate. He pulls some faces, doesn’t he? He’s got everything really. It must be lovely being in charge of a team like that but he’s created it," he added.
"They haven’t always been like that. He saw what weaknesses there were and he’s shored them up. He’s an exceptional manager. We’re very lucky to have the managers that we have in what is the best league in the world.”
Cardiff meet Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday after securing their first win of the season against Fulham last time out, but Warnock has claimed it will be "virtually impossible" for his side to leave Merseyside with all three points.
"It is virtually impossible for any team in the current game," he added. "Their front three is probably the best front three in the world.
"But we're playing quite well - I think we can cause them problems. You have to go there and believe you can. We all have to play to the top of our potential to give them a good game and hope that they're having a bit of an off day."