Former Sporting Director reveals Rafa Benitez prevented Luis Diaz from joining Everton before Liverpool move

Things are not going to plan for Rafael Benitez at Celta Vigo, and to make matters worse, some of his ex-colleagues are telling tales of hindsight that do not paint the ex-Newcastle United boss in a good light.

Famous for his spells at Valencia and Liverpool, Benitez did the unthinkable and crossed the Merseyside divide for six months in 2021. It was a brief and unhappy spell for the Toffees, made even more frustrating by the fact that he stood in the way of them recruiting what is now one of the best wingers in the world.

Former Everton Sporting Director Marcel Brands has explained to AD Sportwereld (via Diario AS) that he was keen on bringing Diaz to Goodison.

“I wanted to install my philosophy and structure in the Club that would allow Everton to progress, but the decisions from above did not allow it. In the summer of 2021 we were looking to bring Luis Diaz from Porto.”

“I was working hard to get James Rodriguez to go to Porto as part of the deal that would bring Diaz to the Club, however, Rafa Benitez ruled against it because he was not sure about the player.”

In the same January Benitez was sacked, Diaz would then move to rivals Liverpool for €47m. Rodriguez did start his Everton career off well, but shortly after ended up departing for Qatari side Al Rayyan, and Benitez was off too. That was Benitez’s last job before taking over Celta this summer, and things are not going to plan in Galicia either, with Celta 18th after 13 games.