Everton pulled the plug on appointing Nuno Espirito Santo as their new boss during the summer because the Portuguese wanted to make James Rodriguez a key part of his plans, according to journalist Paul Brown.
How close did Everton come to appointing Nuno?
The 47-year-old was also on Everton's radar after they saw Carlo Ancelotti quit Goodison Park in favour of a return to Spanish giants Real Madrid, with reports suggesting Nuno was on the brink of being appointed as the Italian's successor.
Benitez's unveiling came on the same day as Nuno took over as Tottenham Hotspur's new head coach following a lengthy managerial search in north London.
Talks with Paulo Fonseca also broke down after it appeared the former Roma head coach would head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
What has Paul Brown said about Nuno?
The journalist believes Nuno was certain he was set for Goodison Park but alleges the move never happened because of wanting to utilise £90,000-per-week winger James.
Brown told GMS: "Nuno thought he had the job at Everton and then suddenly didn't.
"I think one of the reasons for that is because Nuno wanted James to stay and would have made him more of a key part of his plan.
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"There's a shared agent there behind the scenes as well and I think that might have been one of the reasons why Everton went in a different direction for the manager.
"They made a decision that James Rodriguez is just too expensive to have around the club if he's not going to play enough games every season."
Has James been given a chance under Benitez?
Ahead of Everton's 2-2 draw with Leeds United, he admitted to not knowing who his current employers’ next opponents were during a broadcast on his Twitch account.
The Colombia international has also been told he does not feature in Benitez's plans.News Now - Sport News