Everton’s Missed Opportunity: Luis Diaz’s Almost Move and Rafa Benitez’s Decision-Making

Everton found themselves on the brink of securing Luis Diaz’s services back in 2021, yet Rafa Benitez, who was then managing the club, harbored reservations about the now-Liverpool winger. Marcel Brands, Everton’s figure in the transfer discussions, was vigorously advocating for the acquisition of Diaz during the summer of 2021. Brands even devised a plan to include James Rodriguez in the deal by offering him to Porto. However, Benitez stepped in and halted the progress of the potential transfer, as disclosed by Brands in an interview with AD Sportwereld.

Subsequently, Diaz opted to sign for Liverpool in the following January transfer window, with the Reds shelling out an initial £37.5 million (€45 million/$50 million) for the Colombian talent. Meanwhile, Everton managed to secure Demairi Gray on a budget-friendly deal during that period.

Reflecting on the unsuccessful move, Brands expressed his desire to instill a specific philosophy and structure within Everton to propel the club forward. However, he pointed out that decisions from higher up within the club’s hierarchy hindered these ambitions. Brands emphasized the efforts made in the summer of 2021 to bring Luis Diaz from Porto and detailed his endeavors to arrange James Rodriguez’s potential move to Porto as part of the deal to secure Diaz. Regrettably, Benitez’s reservations about the player ultimately dashed Everton’s hopes of securing Diaz’s signature.

Looking ahead, Luis Diaz is expected to feature prominently for Colombia in their upcoming Conmebol 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay. Notably, he exhibited his talent by scoring twice to lead Colombia to victory over Brazil in a recent fixture.

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