According to former Everton Head of European Recruitment Ian Atkins, the Toffees turned down the chance to sign Erling Haaland when he was 15 after he was recommended to the club by Brian King.
Toffees turn down Haaland
King used to work as Everton’s talent-spotter in Scandinavia and Haaland caught his attention when he was still at Bryne. He even managed to get the youngster over to Merseyside for a four-day trial.
However, Atkins has revealed the club didn’t think he had what it took to succeed. He told The Liverpool Echo:
“Brian King was really excited about this kid.
“He’d watched Haaland a lot and rated him really highly. He gets on to the club and manages to get him in for four days with the Academy so that the coaches can have a look at him and see what they think.
“This is when Haaland is at Bryne, before the Molde move, so he’s raw but he’s got all these great attributes you don’t often see in someone so young.
“He comes in for four days and the Academy decided he wasn’t good enough, something that Brian King didn’t agree with. He thought there was a real talent in there but they didn’t agree. He was one that got away for Everton, but you get that in football. I think Haaland would have suited the English game, though.”
As Atkins says, this kind of thing can happen in football, but it is no doubt that letting him go was a big mistake. Haaland is a phenomenon – he has 43 goals in 43 games for Borussia Dortmund, having previously netted 29 in 27 for Red Bull Salzburg (Transfermarkt). He has scored 18 in 13 Champions League matches as well – a truly astonishing record – and he has also won the Golden Boy award, a coveted prize for the best young talents across the continent (ESPN).
Would Haaland have been a success at Everton?
He is now valued at £99m (Transfermarkt) and is set to dominate European football for years to come. All Everton can do now is look at his achievements and rue the error they made after the coaches at their academy decided he wasn’t good enough.
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