Agent Simon Stainrod has told The Scottish Sun that both Everton and Newcastle United missed out on signing current Rennes attacker M'Baye Niang back in the day.
Niang, 24, will be a key part of the Rennes side that takes on Celtic in the Europa League on Thursday night, even if he is a case of unfulfilled potential.
The Senegal international was bigged up as a huge talent for the future during his time with Caen, sparking a huge battle for his services back in 2012.
AC Milan ended up winning the race for his signature, but his time at the San Siro didn't exactly go to plan after just 12 goals in 79 games.
He was loaned out regularly, joining Montpellier, Genoa, Watford and Torino on loan, and when Torino made his loan permanent, he was bizarrely loaned out again, this time back to France with Rennes.
With 14 goals and seven assists last season, the versatile attacker showed his quality to earn a permanent move, and his former agent has now reflected on how he could have ended up in the Premier League.
Stainrod has admitted that David Moyes was keen to take him to Everton on a free transfer after a trial spell, but allegedly felt he would have been a risk after 'bad experiences' with Senegalese players in the past, which is an odd claim given that Everton have only ever had two Senegalese internationals – Oumar Niasse and Idrissa Gueye – and they both arrived years after Moyes left, whilst Niang was actually a France Under-21 international at the time, as it was before he had committed to Senegal.
Stainrod also claimed that Newcastle had a deal in the pipeline but Niang's lawyer tried to change the terms of the deal, meaning they backed out, and whilst Stainrod feels he doesn't score enough goals, he still rates him higher than former Rennes teammate and new £30million Watford signing Ismaila Sarr.
“I had him as a client a few years ago and he almost went to Everton when he was a kid at Caen,” said Stainrod. “He would have been a free. Davie Moyes was very keen and they had him over for a week. They liked him but I think the problem they had was that they’d had bad experiences with previous Senegalese players and, in the end, they felt it was a risk with a young player. I had him up at Newcastle as well, but that move fell apart because the lawyer on his side tried to change the terms of the deal and Newcastle backed off.”
“He went to AC Milan instead and has had a few loan moves. He is strong and intelligent and knows how to play the position, but for me he doesn’t score enough goals. In saying that, I’d have him before Ismaila Sarr, who they sold to Watford for £30m recently,” he added.
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