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Details revealed on how Sunderland ‘signed’ Virgil Van Dijk - but Ellis Short pulled the plug

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In the latest edition of the Roker Rapport Podcast, Sky Sports News presenter Tom White revealed details of how Sunderland ‘signed’ Virgil Van Dijk in 2015 - only for Ellis Short to pull the plug on the deal at last minute.

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Sky Sports News presenter and massive Sunderland fan Tom White joined us on the Roker Rapport podcast yesterday afternoon to discuss the 4-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Newcastle United, as well as his media career.

During the discussion, White mentioned how he often gets stories but for one reason or another is not allowed to disclose them.

He then gave us an example and revealed that Sunderland had signed Virgil van Dijk from Celtic in 2015 but lost out on him due to Ellis Short having second thoughts about the deal:

I’ll give you one example that I can say now and I don’t necessarily blame anyone for this but we all know that we wanted Virgil van Dijk, everyone knows that.

Did you know that he had signed? He had signed, for us.

It was Lee Congerton who had done the deal, he had signed, he was ready to be presented but the money hadn’t been transferred to Celtic.

Congerton got the call from Ellis Short to say ‘I changed my mind, I’m not going to release that money’.

So having signed the deal, he was sent back to Celtic where he then went to sign for Southampton, then went for £75m and there is a strong argument that he’s the best centre back in the world.

Van Dijk went on to have a very successful spell with Southampton after his £13m transfer to St Mary’s in 2015 before becoming the world’s most expensive defender thanks to his £75m move to Liverpool.

You can listen to the full interview by subscribing to iTunes, Acast, Spotify and YouTube.