Everton’s academy has always had a history for churning out some of the brightest young talents around.
A quick flick through the history books will remind you of plenty of names at Goodison Park; particularly Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley.
Although those two eventually departed the Toffees in costly deals, the club’s academy players now appear to be leaving before they’ve earned regular chances in the first team.
Thierry Small is the latest name to leave Finch Farm behind as he rejected a new contract and headed to Southampton.
He is joined in the same boat as Dan Rose who went to Schalke but the leading example is Mohamed-Ali Cho.
Everton spotted the teenager when he was just a young boy but they weren’t able to bring him to Merseyside until 2015.
The exciting winger enjoyed five years in the academy but was eventually prised away by French side Angers.
Marcel Brands and co likely didn’t think much of him when he departed. After all, he was nowhere near making a first-team breakthrough at Goodison Park.
Yet, since leaving English football behind, he has thrived. Much like Jadon Sancho did, Cho is now tearing it up on the continent where he is making a huge splash in Ligue 1.
He has been ever-present for his new club this term at the tender age of 17 and has scored his first senior goal along the way too.
“He has been a revelation as Angers defy expectations,” French football expert Jonathan Johnson told The Athletic.
“He is earning rave reviews and is really starting to catch the attention of big European clubs.”
Indeed, after arriving in France, his market value, per Transfermarkt, has soared from £720,000 to £3.6m, an almighty increase of 400%.
Possessing the ability to play in a number of offensive roles, primarily as a second striker, Everton could have had another Richarlison in their ranks had they kept him at Goodison.
Describing the forward during initial scouting, one source commented: “He had superb dribbling ability and a great shot… like a rocket.”
For example, his average carry distance of 14.7m so far this season places him ahead of the great Kylian Mbappe.
At a dribble rate of 1.4 per game, it’s evident he’s got a particularly exciting trait in his locker, just as Richarlison does.
Sadly for Rafa Benitez, he won’t get to utilise the 17-year-old. This is very much one that got away for the Toffees.