The Director, Aspire Football Dreams (Nigeria), Col. Sam Ahmedu (retd.), who played a major role in the football development of new Everton signing Henry Onyekuru, believes the youngster can become Nigeria’s next big thing in the Premier League, even though he would have preferred him joining Arsenal.
Onyekeru, who has a £6.8m release clause in his contract, joined the Toffees from AS Eupen on Tuesday and will spend next season on loan at Anderlecht as he does not yet qualify for a UK work permit.
The 20-year-old Nigeria striker, top scorer in the Belgian top division last season with 22 goals, was the target of European clubs including Arsenal and West Ham before Everton grabbed him.
“The move is okay, though I would have preferred him at Arsenal. Arsenal would have given him a better profile but Everton are not bad either and the move will give him better opportunities of playing in the first team instantly,” Ahmedu stated.
“I believe they (Everton) wanted him more and the issue of playing time and personal terms influenced by his agents may have been factors. (Ronald) Koeman is a good coach too, so it’s a nice move and with Champions League experience at Anderlecht, his game will improve.
“Henry will adapt to the rigours of the English league well. Which Nigerian player has not adapted? He trained at Aspire Academy with the best facilities, including acclimatisation facilities. Aspire players play in Spain, England and Italy. Henry is rugged, a hard Surulere boy to the core. He will cope well.”
Onyekuru learnt his football lessons at the famous Aspire Academy in Qatar, where he spent five years, before moving to Belgium in 2015. Ahmedu said the striker had displayed all the traits of a future star at the academy.
“Henry showed pace and has a knack for scoring creative goals. Henry is multi-dimensional. He can play as a top striker, support striker and even as a midfielder. His pace also makes him effective on the wings,” he added.