Jose Mourinho rejected the chance to sign Virgil van Dijk while he was Manchester United manager before Liverpool swooped to sign the defender from Southampton, according to reports.
Van Dijk’s name was put forward by the Red Devils before his £75million move from Southampton to Liverpool, according to The Independent.
Club bosses were willing to table a bid and look to beat Liverpool to the signature of the Dutchman but Mourinho said no to the move as he did not want to add another centre-back to his squad at that time.
By the time he made the position a top priority the next transfer window, Van Dijk was a Liverpool player and transforming Jurgen Klopp’s defence.
Mourinho was unable to add a centre-back in his final transfer window before getting sacked by the Red Devils last December.
However, Ed Woodward delivered new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the signing of Harry Maguire in a world-record £80million deal after he first came onto their radar under Mourinho.
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Previous reports have suggested Woodward was convinced to break the bank for Maguire after seeing the impact Van Dijk had on Liverpool.
He was pivotal to their tightened defence helping them launch a Premier League title charge and lift the Champions League last season.
But the Dutchman could have ended up at Old Trafford, or at least been given a tough choice to make had Mourinho not rejected the chance to table a bid.
The report from The Independent also claims the scouting structure at United is in disarray.
It says many scouting reports on potential targets are left unread, with a source saying: “They’ve got reports on so many players, but they mostly go ignored.
“Some of the players they’d spend fortunes on, they’re not as good as better players who they’ve got reports on, but most go ignored.”