Former Arsenal striker Kanu has blasted the club’s decision to sell Alex Iwobi to Everton.
The Nigeria international was the Gunners’ second-highest chance creator (40) in the Premier League last season but switched the Emirates for Goodison Park late on transfer deadline day in a deal which could be worth up to £40m.
Were Arsenal wrong to sell Iwobi? Five things to know…
- Iwobi scored 15 goals in 149 appearances for Arsenal.
- But he sealed a deadline day move to Everton in the summer.
- No Arsenal player completed more Premier League dribbles (46) than Iwobi last season.
- Fellow Nigerian Kanu believes the Gunners were wrong to let him go.
- Iwobi has scored two goals in three games for Everton so far.
Everton had initially been chasing Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha but when that deal went cold, they turned their attention to Iwobi, eventually coming up with an offer that the Arsenal hierarchy were happy with.
By that time, Arsenal had already sealed the signature of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a club-record £72m after the Ivorian had become the only player in Europe’s top five leagues to have 100+ shots, win 100+ fouls and complete 100+ take-ons in league action.
Nicolas Pépé was the only player in Europe's top five divisions to have 100+ shots, win 100+ fouls and complete 100+ take-ons in the league in 2018-19:
• 118 shots
• 108 fouls won
• 102 take-ons
22 goals and 11 assists to show for it. pic.twitter.com/8bWPoay89A
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 27, 2019
Pepe managed a total of 102 take-ons in Ligue 1 last term – the division’s third-highest total – but Kanu still feels the decision to let Iwobi go was a bad one.
“I would say they made a mistake, 100 per cent,” he told Goal. “Why they let him go, I don’t know.
“He’s a boy who, in and out, is Arsenal. He always wanted to do his best for the club. He loves the club, but not only that he can play football.
“What he brings week in, week out, the fans need to appreciate that.
“I think he is still young and those are the type of people you want in the team, people who grew up here, who knows everything about the club and wants to die for the club.
“He was one of them, so for us to lose him and to let him go, was a shock. I couldn’t really believe we did it, but that’s football.”
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Kanu – himself a Nigeria international during his playing days – wished Iwobi well on social media once news of his move was made public.
However, had the 23-year-old sought the advice of his compatriot, Kanu says he would have urged Iwobi to remain in north London.
“It was a surprise to everybody because it happened right at the end of the window,” said Kanu. “If I knew earlier, I could have said to him not to go and that it was better for him to stay.
“I would have said that there was no need for him to go because at Arsenal he will still play. He’s that good and he needs to know that.
“I think Arsenal would have been the best place for him because it’s a big club and you want to play in a big club and in Europe. Those are the games you want to play.”
Iwobi has made a promising start to life on Merseyside, scoring two goals in three appearances across all competitions and very much adding a new dimension to Marco Silva’s attack.
Everton travel to Bournemouth on Sunday looking to add to their seven Premier League points so far.