As reported by Goal, Nwankwo Kanu believes that Arsenal has made a huge “mistake” by letting go of Alex Iwobi to Everton this summer. The club legend told Goal, “I would say they made a mistake, 100 percent. Why they let him go, I don’t know.” But is the Nigerian footballing icon right to slam Arsenal over the sale of Iwobi?
Iwobi’s futility at Arsenal
A product of the Arsenal academy, Iwobi was a part of the Arsenal first-team since 2015. He was regarded as one of the finest talents the academy had produced in the recent memory. However, he never really managed to make a notable breakthrough in senior football and establish himself as a Premier League star.
It is primarily due to the lack of game-time he was offered at the Emirates. During his four years with the Arsenal first-team, the Nigerian international failed to exceed 2,000 minutes of league football even once. But, in fairness, it was his inconsistent performances that forced Arsene Wenger and later, Unai Emery to rely on other stars.
Indeed, Iwobi, though boasting immense skill on the ball, often appeared tentative, especially against high-quality oppositions. He is, however, enjoying a promising start to his Everton career, notably scoring two goals in three matches in all competitions.
An influx of talents
What really influenced Emery to get rid of Iwobi is the influx of several academy talents at Arsenal in recent years, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson.
Nelson is already coming on the back of an excellent campaign at TSG Hoffenheim and is expected to play a crucial role at the Emirates this season. As for Maitland-Niles, he has been the first-choice right-back for Arsenal so far while Willock, too, was slotted into an attacking midfield role in the first couple of matches.
The presence of such talented, young individuals reduced the importance of Iwobi in the team; thus, his £35m transfer to Everton seemed rather sensible.
Speaking of money, it was arguably the most crucial reason behind the sale of Iwobi as Arsenal were one of the busiest sides in the transfer market this summer. The Gunners signed the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos as well as Kieran Tierney among many others.
As a result, they really had to go deep in their pockets. Not only that but the addition of so many players may have crippled the wage structure as well. Hence, it was necessary to get rid of at least one star player. Iwobi’s big money departure, in that regard, helped Arsenal recoup some of the transfer funds and also restore their wage structure, to an extent. Considering all these valid reasons, Kanu’s comments regarding the departure of Iwobi, appear rather futile.
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