Everton forward Oumar Niasse is thankful his switch to Crystal Palace did not materialise after coming so close to leaving the Merseysiders for the Eagles but he refused to reveal why his move to Selhurst Park stalled just an hour before the end of the summer transfer window.
Niasse was frozen out of the Toffees first-team under former manager Ronald Koeman and was seen as surplus to requirements at Goodison Park, where his fortunes have changed drastically in recent weeks.
The Senegal international is Everton's joint-top goalscorer this season with five goals in all competitions, but he may well have been plundering goals for Palace if not for a hitch that curtailed his £7m ($9.24m) move to the capital.
Niasse may have been disheartened to see the transfer fall through at the time - a disagreement over agent's fees put paid to the switch - but after successfully fighting his way into the Everton first-team reckoning the 27-year-old is glad he did not move to a "worse" team in Palace, who host the Toffees on Saturday (18 November).
"It was a difficult day, that night when I went there, to have everything about to sign," Niasse was quoted as saying by the Croydon Advertiser. "Just one hour before the window closed I didn't sign. They know why, I know why, I'm not going to go deep on that.
"I'm feeling thankful and happy to go back to Everton. Now it is a different challenge, we are not in a good position. They are worse but it is going to be a difficult game (on Saturday)."
Niasse could well start against Palace, who are primed to welcome back Christian Benteke from a nasty knee problem sustained two months ago. Everton interim boss David Unsworth worked with Niasse when the former Lokomotiv Moscow forward was part of his Under-23 side last season, and he recently welcomed back one of his youth starlets to Goodison Park, albeit in slightly disappointing circumstances.
Midfielder Liam Walsh has returned to Everton from his loan spell at Birmingham City after manager Steve Cotterill told him that he was unlikely to get regular game-time in the Midlands. The 20-year-old made just three appearances for the Blues since joining in the summer, but Cotterill did claim that he can be recalled back to St Andrew's if need be.
"He wasn't going to be ahead of the players already in there (central midfield)," Cotterill told the Birmingham Mail. "We'd had a chat after the first week or two and I'd said just give me a little bit of time to look at it.
"And then when I think he wasn't going to get a game there were probably a few more conversations on whether he should go back or not. He couldn't go back (as a first-team player) until the window, but he'd prefer to go back and play with the 23s for Everton, rather than play in our 23s.
"I've got nothing but good things to say about him. He's a great kid who had a lovely smile on his face every day he came in. He can go back but he will still be available for us if all of a sudden we're at a stage where we needed somebody to play."