EPL 2016/17: Alex Iwobi says he rejected West Ham United for Arsenal
Arsenal’s 20-year-old Nigerian attacking player Alex Iwobi has revealed he turned down West Ham United to join Arsenal in 2004 claiming they were the bigger club. The young academy product from Arsenal has made 11 appearances for the Gunners this season, although he has not scored a goal yet for the Gunners.
The Nigerian has cemented his place in the Arsenal squad ever since his impressive debut in October 2015 and his stunning composed displays has earned the player a spot in Wenger’s first team squad. Iwobi, the nephew of former great Jay Jay Okocha, has provided Arsene Wenger with some options with players to deploy in attacking positions especially with the club’s participation in four competitions.
Iwobi explains his role in training with both clubs Arsenal and West Ham from the tender age of 6-9 years after which he penned a deal with the Gunners claiming they were a bigger club than their London neighbours.
“Arsenal and West Ham were interested in me and Chuba [Akpom], so we were training with both clubs for three years, because we were scouted at six and you can’t sign until you’re nine,” he said to Match of the day magazine.
“I decided to sign for Arsenal because I supported them back then and I always saw them as the bigger club – no disrespect to West Ham.”
Also read: The rise of Arsenal's Alex Iwobi
Praise from one of the greats in the English game
An important member in the Gunners squad now, Iwobi has seamlessly adapted to the style of the North Londoners, earning lots of praise for his performances from Sir Alex Ferguson and others in the football community. The development of the 20-year-old has been rapid with his composure in the final third winning him a lot of followers.
Ferguson believes the rise of the youngster in the Arsenal ranks, along with stars such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, have made Arsenal title rivals this season. With a number of top clubs looking to land the trophy, Ferguson claims managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League need to be wary of Arsenal and Wenger.
“You shouldn’t forget Arsenal [in the title race],” Ferguson told Kicker. “The team is more sturdy. They’ve got better and more aggressive. I’m impressed with the young boy Alex Iwobi.”
Arsenal currently sits in second place level on points with leaders City, as they prepare to travel to the Stadium of Light, to face a struggling David Moyes and Sunderland currently at the bottom of the Premier League.