Steve Bruce has revealed he nearly signed Virgil van Dijk during his time at Hull.
The Newcastle boss managed the Tigers for four years from 2012 and the Liverpool star was on his radar.
But Bruce claims Hull were outpriced in a move for Van Dijk, who joined Southampton for £11.5million from Celtic in September 2015.
The Dutchman is considered one of the best central defenders in the world following a superb 2018/19 season, which saw Liverpool win the Champions League.
Bruce, who takes his Newcastle side to Liverpool on Saturday, in a game which is LIVE on talkSPORT, said: “I could have taken Van Dijk to Hull.
“I had dinner with Kenny Dalglish and the owner of Celtic, Dermot Desmond, in Barbados – I’m name-dropping now – and he waxed lyrical about the best players he’s had.
“He couldn’t understand why nobody had gone for Van Dijk, so we tried to get him before he went to Southampton.
“At Hull back then for £10million I was nowhere near getting him. I tried, but I had no chance at that price.
“We took a few lads from Egypt around that time, but we never looked at Mo Salah to be honest.”
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Bruce will be coming up against one of his former players when Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson steps on to the pitch.
The Scotland captain joined Hull in a £2.85million deal from Dundee United in 2014 and lined up alongside Harry Maguire, who has since become the world’s most expensive defender.
Bruce said: “My chief scout Stan Ternent said we’ve got to go for him so we did our homework, went to see him and we took him.
“It was a bit of a gamble, and I remember him arriving with his mum, holding her hand. We had a couple of injuries and I threw him in.
“He had an unbelievable debut and hasn’t looked back. He’s been quite remarkable and is right up there with my best signings.
“I remember once we had a day out and the experienced players played a prank on him. They got him to carry cases of beer on to the team bus, even though they knew they weren’t allowed.
“I gave him a big dressing down and he certainly didn’t make the mistake of doing it again.
“He hadn’t realised the lads were winding him up and the rest of them were all sat at the back of the bus howling with laughter.”