Everton turned down a £20m deal to sign both Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire, according to former sporting director Steve Walsh.
Walsh joined the Toffees in 2016 following an impressive spell at Leicester City, where he scouted Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kanté.
What was Steve Walsh’s job at Everton? Five key things to know…
- Everton hired Steve Walsh as their sporting director in 2016.
- He previously scouted Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kanté at Leicester City.
- Walsh would oversee the biggest spending spree in Everton’s history.
- The club’s most expensive player was signed under his watch, Gylfi Sigurðsson (£45m).
- However, he was replaced by Marcel Brands in the summer of 2018 after Everton finished eighth.
Mahrez, Kante and Vardy each played instrumental roles in the Foxes’ against-the-odds Premier League triumph, which enhanced Walsh’s reputation. He subsequently became Everton’s director of football under majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
The likes of Yannick Bolasie, Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams would follow him in his first campaign before they splashed the cash in the subsequent season with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen arriving.
Everton’s outlay across four transfer windows Walsh oversaw amassed to over £250m, but an inability to translate this into success on the pitch would ultimately see him lose his job in May 2018; Marcel Brands, who previously served as PSV Eindhoven’s director of football, took over.
Walsh now argues many of those he brought to Goodison Park were not his first-choice picks. The Chorley-born scout says there were several names he passed on to his bosses who were dismissed – some of whom have either gone on to big things, or may be just about to.
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“While I was at Everton, I offered them Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire deals, when they were at Hull, and it was worth £20 million for the pair. Everton wouldn’t take them,” he told the Athletic.
“I had a deal done for Jonny Evans too before he came to Leicester, but again they wouldn’t take him.
“Erling Haaland, the striker with Salzburg, I had him and his dad at the club with a deal done for £3.4m (€4m). The club wouldn’t back me.”
Andrew Robertson moved to Liverpool in 2017. There, he won the Champions League last season and became one of Europe’s best full-backs. Harry Maguire, meanwhile, became the world’s most expensive defender when Manchester United signed him for over £80m last summer.
Everton are currently 15th in the table, but only three points behind fifth-place Sheffield United, and next play Norwich City at home.