Alphonso Davies could have signed for Crystal Palace as a 15-year-old prodigy – but he was denied a work permit.
Davies was one of last season’s biggest success stories after flourishing as a full-back with German giants Bayern Munich.
The 19-year-old joined Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps back in January 2019, but Palace chairman Steve Parish has revealed they were in for him years prior.
Parish told Suddeutsche Zeitung his sister was living in Canada at the time and tipped him off about the exciting talent.
“When he was 15, 16 in a football school in Edmonton, where my sister lives, she recommended him to me.
“We flew to Canada especially to see the player. We wanted to sign him, but once again we couldn’t get a work permit in England!
“True story! I still have all the mails. I’m sure he would have been interested in coming to us – and we were very early!
“So I was a little torn when I watched Bayern. But I’m happy for Alphonso. And to see Bayern win is good, because it is a rich but self-sustaining club. I see a team that is bigger than the sum of its parts.”
The youngster was a Liberian citizen who had gained a Canadian passport, which made a move complicated.
Davies played 43 times for Bayern last season as they clinched the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.
A number of clubs seem to have come close to sealing his signature, but one of the most bizarre is Championship outfit Swansea City.
Then-Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson, who was capped 52 times by Wales, recommended Davies to Swansea during his spell in charge in 2017.
Davies was available for £3 million, but a potential transfer collapsed again due to work permit issues.
It all worked out in the end and Davies opened up about his journey to BT Sport last month.
“Coming to Europe and winning the Champions League with a great club like Bayern is everything I can ask for,” he said.
“It shows the team I have around me, helping me every time I play; they play really well in the Champions League and being able to play here is amazing for me.
“My story, it just goes to show if you set your mind to it you can do anything. I’m happy to have the medal around my neck and the trophy by my side.”