New Everton signing Ramiro Funes Mori claims he came close to joining Chelsea “a few years ago” but was denied a work permit.
The 24-year-old defender moved to the Toffees from River Plate during the recent transfer window and made his debut as a substitute against the Blues on Saturday.
The Merseysiders had to go through a special process to acquire a work permit for Mori, who had not played the required 30 per cent of matches for Argentina over the past two years.
However, the Premier League club appealed to an Exceptions Panel, under new UK Home Office rules, which takes into account specific criteria regarding the player and the transfer.
The Argentina international eventually penned a five-year contract at Goodison Park, but things could have been so different had his application been successful following a trial spell at Stamford Bridge.
Mori told the Daily Express: “It can be said that it’s my second spell at England – I had a trial for Chelsea a few years ago alongside with my twin brother.
“We stayed at Chelsea for two weeks but had to leave because we didn’t have a European passport. Well, I still don’t have a European passport but Everton truly wanted me.
“So now I hope to be ready and get used to playing in the Premier League as soon as possible.”