With nine-man Everton capitulating in front of their home supporters for what felt like the umpteenth time in recent memory, a catastrophic 3-2 defeat to Brentford meaning their Premier League status is on the line heading into the final week of a traumatic campaign, The Times’ interview with former Toffees scout Bryan King could hardly have emerged at a worse time.
“We could have had him for a compensation fee of £60,000,” King says, explaining why Everton decided against signing a then-15-year-old striker back in 2016.
That striker’s name? Erling Braut Haaland of course.
“The consensus was he was so young and so big that, once he got older and other players got bigger too, he’d lose his effectiveness,” King adds.
“But, of course, that hasn’t happened. He’s just become even more powerful, even quicker and even better too.”
You can say that again. Haaland’s impending move to the Premier League, six years after Everton got cold feet, will see the Norway international arrive at Manchester City having established himself as arguably the most exciting young player in world football.
If Everton came to the conclusion that £60,000 was a risk not worth taking, Manchester City certainly felt differently about the £51 million release clause in Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund contract.
But Haaland was not the only fresh-faced forward Everton took an interest in during 2016. According to L’Equipe, the Merseysiders scouted a 19-year-old Martin Terrier before he’d even started a Ligue 1 game in the white and red of Lyon.
And while he hasn’t hit the same sky-high heights as Haaland – not yet anyway – a tally of 21 for Rennes across 2021/22 means Terrier has mustered just one fewer league goal than Man City’s newest superstar over the last ten months or so.
An emphatic finisher blessed with searing pace, Terrier has found the net 16 times in his last 21 matches. In fact, he’s almost scored as many this term on his own as Richarlison, Anthony Gordon, Demarai Gray, Salomon Rondon and Dominic Calvert-Lewin put together.
“We have seen other players get called-up to the French national side, or other international sides, for less than what he’s done,” Thierry Henry tells Amazon Prime of a man who kept Lionel Messi out of the 2021/22 Ligue 1 Team of the Season.
“There are lots of players to choose from, so it’s not easy for (Les Bleus coach) Didier Deschamps. Is (a call-up) deserved? I would prefer to say that, if he does get selected, it won’t be undeserved.”
“I like this player a lot. The amount of goals he’s scored… No-one would have predicted at the start of the season. Not even him.”
In other news, ‘If Messi’: Merson makes ‘mind-blowing’ claim about one Leeds player