FORMER Super Eagles skipper Austin Jay Jay Okocha has revealed that Arsenal forced his nephew Alex Iwobi out of the club mandating him to leave for Everton in 2019 without the player having any input into the decision.
During the summer transfer window of 2019, Iwobi, an Arsenal player since he was a schoolboy, made a shock move to Merseyside giants Everton in a deal worth £40m. Reflecting on that move, Okocha said his nephew knew little about the transfer and it was an offer the Gunners could not refuse.
Okocha said: “I must confess that the move from Arsenal to Everton wasn’t an easy one from him. He wasn’t expecting it, it just happened.”
“He got a call that there’s a deal for him and that he must oblige that deal, which wasn’t easy for a young player who has played all his life at Arsenal. I think that must have taken him 12 months to get over, so he didn’t have the best season last year with Everton.”
After a disappointing first season for Everton, Iwobi has slowly improved under Carlo Ancelotti but is yet to nail down a permanent first-team berth. However, Okocha believes the playmaker will soon hit the potentials expected of him, adding that the nature of the move might have contributed to Iwobi’s slow start to life at Everton.
Okocha added: “You can see that now he’s a bit more comfortable. He has finally realised that Liverpool is his home now.
“I think that without any doubt we will see an improved and better Alex Iwobi now. I’m glad with his progress so far because I always believed that there’s room for improvement and luckily for all of us, he’s a good lad, he listens.”
Since his move to Everton, Iwobi has only two Premier League goals for the club. In total, he has made 59 appearances for the Toffees, scoring four times and providing as many assists.