City were also keen to land the 26-year-old from Leicester during the summer transfer window but did not rival United in terms of fee, despite the defence losing a key player with Vincent Kompany returning to Anderlecht.
“He's the real deal for me. I think his character, the qualities he has, the reading of the game. It's never been more important for a centre-half to see the picture and deliver upon what he sees," he told Sky Sports.
“Your centre-back is genuinely what a central midfielder used to be, so I think he will make a big difference for United and he will have a calming effect on the rest of the team. I'd expect him to have the same influence Van Dijk has had at Liverpool.
“I think he is a great signing. I'm surprised that City didn't break the bank to get him, if they had a bank that could be broken. I think he is sensational and everything you want from a centre-half."