Everton made a huge transfer mistake all the way back in 2009 when they failed to capture the signing of midfielder Ever Banega. It’s one that they will surely regret.
At the time Banega had just finished a loan spell with Atletico Madrid when Everton were interested in signing him on a permanent basis from his parent club Valencia.
Now 33 years old he would have been 20 at the time and a young prospect with a bright future ahead of him. However, according to The Daily Mail, the move fell through at the last minute with the Spanish club reluctant to let Banega leave after they had failed to secure a replacement for him.
He went on to stay at Valencia until 2014 making 185 appearances for the club and being directly involved in 41 goals before moving to Sevilla for £2.35m. It was here where he achieved a tremendous amount of success, winning the Europa League three times in two separate spells, lifting the trophy in 2015, 2016 and most recently 2020.
At the time he was close to signing for the Toffees, he was compared to their star midfielder at the time Mikel Arteta, with special notice paid to his quality in possession and his playmaking ability.
Everton did have playmakers of their own under David Moyes such as Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, but Banega could have made a huge difference in the middle of the park sitting alongside Arteta.
After failing in their attempts to sign the Argentine “maestro” in the words of WhoScored when he was rated at just £7.2m, the Toffees subsequently had to rely on youngster Jack Rodwell at the time. The Englishman was 18 during that season and played 28 games for the club in the Premier League. He went on to have a good Everton career but at the time had much less ability than Banega.
Ultimately this is a signing that would have improved Everton greatly, with the 65-cap Argentine eventually going on to be worth a high of £18m. However, if the player had left he wouldn’t have gone on to achieve anywhere near as much as he did with Sevilla.
Although they got close, Everton didn’t win a trophy during Moyes’ time at Goodison Park and have gone without silverware since 1995.
Banega now plays in Saudi Arabia for Al-Shabab who he joined on a free transfer in 2020.