Neil Lennon says he knew he was signing a superstar for Celtic in Virgin van Dijk.
The former Hoops boss was discussing the Dutch defender’s rise to the top with Liverpool on Soccer AM this morning.
Lennon is credited with bringing Van Dijk to Parkhead from Groningen in 2013.
He told how he believed Van Dijk was the next Rio Ferdinand – but feared scout footage was too good to be true.
He then went to the Netherlands to watch Van Dijk in the flesh before quickly moving to land his signature.
And he was met with gasps of disbelief in the studio as he recalled signing the Anfield stopper for just 2million euros in 2013.
Lennon said: “When the recruitment team showed us footage of him, I’m thinking ‘he’s the next Rio Ferdinand’.
“But watching on the monitor you’re thinking ‘there must be something wrong with him’.
“It just amazed me that he was in Scotland for so long. He could end up playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid, but he’s really brilliant for Liverpool.
“First day I said to him ‘just enjoy yourself son, you won’t be here for long.'”
Van Dijk went on to sign for Southampton for £13million in 2015 before his move to Liverpool in 2018 for £75million – making him the most expensive defender in world football.