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Manchester City abandoned Virgil van Dijk's pursuit because of price tag

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop assesses how Man City will fare in Kevin De Bruyne's absence following his recent knee injury.
After Liverpool made easy work of West Ham, the FC crew examine what makes the Reds capable of challenging Man City for the Premier League title.

Manchester City baulked at the £75 million price tag Southampton demanded for defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton last season because they thought it was unrealistic, a new documentary has revealed.

The Dutch centre-back went on to join Liverpool for the same fee but in City's new Amazon Prime series, "All or Nothing," it is revealed that they had considered making a move for the 27-year-old.

Chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak and director of football Txiki Begiristain are seen having a conversation in January about new signings following an injury to John Stones, and during discussions over Van Dijk, Al-Mubarak was hesitant over the fee wanted by Southampton.

"Come on, you cannot be serious. Ultimately, if it makes sense for us we will do it," he said. "If it doesn't make sense, we are perfectly comfortable in walking away. To do that, there's only a few clubs in the world that can do that."

City went onto sign Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao in a £57m deal while Van Dijk moved to Liverpool.

The documentary also reveals that Pep Guardiola is motivated by wanting to take City from out of the shadow of bitter rivals Manchester United.

"We have neighbours who for 15 or 20 years have always won. I think that my biggest challenge as a manager is to change that," he says.

Guardiola is shown methodically preparing for matches and giving impassioned prematch and halftime team talks to his squad.

However, the City boss admits that he does not always have the answers although he jokes that it does not stop him pretending that he does.

"I don't have all the answers, but when I don't know something, I act in front of the players as if I do," Guardiola says. "I do it so they believe I have the answer. Sometimes they ask me about life and then you must adopt the role of a father, a brother or son. I just try to give them the best advice."

Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN FC that City's Oleksandr Zinchenko is a target for Real Betis before the close of the transfer window.

City's sister club Girona have also expressed an interest, but they are likely to wait and attempt to sign him on loan rather than in a permanent deal.

Australia international Daniel Arzani has also joined Celtic on a two-year loan.

Information from ESPN FC's Peter O'Rourke was used in this report.

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