One of Everton's stranger signings of the past few years has taken another twist in his career.

Perhaps if he had not suffered a long-term injury during his initial loan spell away from the Blues with Anderlecht, things might have been different.

How long have the club been looking for a winger with his distinct qualities? Good pace, good dribbling, the ability to play on either flank with relative ease.

Instead, the Nigeria international would never play a game for Everton.

On Monday, Henry Onyekuru announced that he had joined Olympiakos on a permanent deal, leaving Monaco having played for Galatasaray on loan last term.

That was his third temporary spell with the Turkish side having first made the move there in 2018 while still contracted to Everton.

But it was his first loan away from Goodison Park which caused the issues that would ultimately cost him a chance to ever play for the Premier League side who bought him from KAS Eupen in 2017.

Anderlecht signed the winger on loan immediately after the Blues confirmed his signing as he couldn't yet secure a work permit to play in the UK.

The plan was that Onyekuru would pick up as many minutes as possible in the Belgian league and work his way into the Nigeria squad, with enough international appearances then allowing him to finally play for his parent club.

And things were initially going swimmingly for the then 20-year-old as he raced to ten goals in 28 appearances across all competitions leading up to December 2017.

However, the forward then suffered a serious knee injury which initially was believed could rule him out for the rest of the season.

From there, a dispute arose as Anderlecht wanted the player to have surgery on the issue, but Everton refused and their specialist confirmed that just rehab would be required to heal the injury.

Last year, he told The Athletic : "I went back to Belgium to play but the coach of Nigeria had to call Anderlecht to ask them to allow me to play even 15 minutes so they could confirm I was OK to play.

"They [Anderlecht] were angry at that [going back to Everton and not having surgery] and also the fact my contract gave me the right to decide if I stayed.

"The new president was mad and was saying ‘who sorted this contract?’ They wanted me to stay one more year but I said no because of what they did stopping me going to the World Cup."

Unfortunately, due to this disagreement and not picking up minutes following his return from injury, Onyekuru was not called up to Nigeria's World Cup squad in 2018.

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That in turn ended his hopes of potentially playing in the Premier League the following campaign, leading to another loan spell for the 2018/19 term.

By the end of that temporary departure, Everton took the decision to sell the winger to Monaco.

As it has transpired since, it appears the Blues took the opportunity to cash in on the Nigeria international at the perfect time.

Having spent £7m to bring him to Goodison Park initially, they made a profit on their investment when he left in 2019 for what was officially described as an undisclosed fee.

Various reports placed the amount received by the Blues in the region of £12m-£15m after his departure to Ligue 1, which isn't bad at all considering he never made an appearance for the club.

Having only made ten league starts in each of his last two seasons, spanning across his time with both Monaco and Galatasaray, the winger will now be hoping to hit the ground running with his new club.

In an alternate world, things could have been very different.

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What if he hadn't picked up that injury? What if he had been able to pick up a work permit after his first loan spell away from the club?

The Nigeria international would have been 21 years old if he had arrived in the Premier League in 2018 and could have perhaps established himself as an exciting player in the Everton side.

He might have solved the club's problem out wide before it really even occurred.

But instead he goes down as a strange transfer story, and one that the Blues actually managed to turn into a success thanks to their sale at precisely the right time.

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