Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland was rejected by Everton

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland

There are some fantastic 'one that got away' stories in English football.

From Diego Maradona coming close to signing for Sheffield United to Harry Kane being snubbed by Arsenal's academy staff, pretty much every Premier League team has a handful of tales about great players who slipped through their grasp. 

And in the years to come, the story of Everton's apathy towards a teenage Erling Haaland may well become a likewise saga that rears its head every now and then to bring blushes to the faces of Toffees followers. 

Not least because Haaland is still only 20 years of age and doesn't appear to be anywhere close to the peak of his powers yet, despite already scoring 43 goals in as many appearances for Dortmund - including 27 so far this season.

Indeed, The Independent's Miguel Delany has already tipped Haaland to soon engage in a Ronaldo-vs-Messi-style rivalry with PSG's Kylian Mbappe, spending their career wrestling with each other for the title of the greatest player on the planet. 

And thus, a recent report from The Liverpool Echo won't sit too well with Everton fans.

Speaking to Ian Atkins, who was the Head of European Recruitment at Everton between 2012 and 2016, The Echo has revealed that the Goodison club's academy staff passed up the chance to add Haaland to their ranks shortly before he signed for Molde in 2017. 

Former Coventry goalkeeper Bryan King worked as Everton's talent-spotter in Scandinavia and was such a big fan of the then-teenage striker that he secured him a four-day academy trial on Merseyside. 

However, as Atkins explains, King's enthusiasm for the Norway international's enormous potential wasn't shared by the staff in Everton's youth setup. 

He told The Echo: "[King] had 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.

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"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."

Instead of signing for Everton, the Bryne youngster would instead join Molde, score 20 times for their senior team by the age of 18 and earn himself a move to RB Salzburg. 

Less than twelve months later he'd sign for Dortmund and roughly a year on from that, taking us to the present day, he's widely considered to be one of the best strikers in the world. 

Everton's academy staff will be kicking themselves over failing to realise Haaland's potential - he looks destined to win at least one Ballon d'Or before his career comes to a close.

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