New arrival at Everton of England, Alex Iwobi has disclosed that he is already bracing up for a fresh challenge at the former club of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Joseph Ikpo Yobo and Victor Anichebe, as he finally wants to establish himself in the English Premier League, megasportsarena.com reports.
Although many critics would see it as demotion for Iwobi, moving from a top-six club in the EPL to one of the midstream outfits, the Super Eagles’ playmaker insists it is an opportunity for him to get regular playing time with The Toffees, which he joined Thursday night for £35m.
Iwobi’s switch to Goodison Park was ratified late by the Premier League office, despite the transfer window closed for business much earlier in the day, because a deal sheet was submitted before the 5pm deadline.
The Africa Cup of Nations 2019 bronze medalist then went ahead to put pen to paper on a five-year contract, which will keep him at Everton until June 30, 2024 – unless a bigger offer comes his way from another team.
The Lagos-born lad, who has 36 Eagles’ caps, could even see his £35m fee in his switch from Emirate Stadium make him Arsenal costliest sale in the London club’s history, with add-ons taking the deal up to £40m.
The 23-year-old Iwobi becomes The Toffees’ seventh signing of the 2019 summer transfer window following goalkeeper Jonas Lössl, right-back Djibril Sidibe, midfielders Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and striker Moise Kean to Goodison Park.
Iwobi came through the ranks at The Gunners and made his senior debut in October 2015 at the age of 19, after which he scored 15 goals in 149 games, and will now begin a new chapter of his career at Everton, as The Toffees target improvement on last season’s eighth-place finish.
It indeed is a new challenge for Iwobi, as he is sure to get more minutes with The Toffees, which would help him go beyond his log at Arsenal, as the transfer also makes him the most expensive Eagles’ player in history, and above Nigerian-born Togo ace, Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor, whose move to Manchester City from Arsenal cost €29 million in July 2009.
The fair-skinned dazzler, who joined Arsenal in 2004, rising through the ranks before making his debut in a League Cup fixture against Sheffield Wednesday, also broke the Eagles’ costliest transfer mark set by Kelechi Iheanacho, when the moved from Man City to Leicester City for £25m.
Iwobi, who has 100 appearances in the Premier League, scoring 11 goals, may take Everton’s number 17 jersey, which became vacant with the exit of Senegalese star, Idrissa Gueye to PSG, but will not debut this weekend for The Toffees, as they could not complete the deal before the deadline and the papers were completed after the window closed.
Nonetheless, the Eagles’ youngster will look forward earnestly to next weekend for his maiden appearance for Everton, when they host Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bahiru’s Watford on Saturday, August 17.
Everton wrote on their official website: ”He became the Blues’ seventh summer acquisition, reuniting with former colleague Walcott, but was not registered in time to be eligible for Saturday’s Premier League opener at Crystal Palace.”