Iwobi: Everton offer was too good to turn down

Tuesday, 13 August, 2019 48comments  |  Jump to last

Everton FC

Alex Iwobi says that he was lured to Everton by Marcel Brands and Marco Silva who promised him that there was a place for him at Goodison Park.

The Blues' final signing of the 2019 close season was secured right before the transfer deadline, with a deal initially worth £28m confirmed later in the evening that saw the Nigerian international move from Arsenal.

Iwobi made over 100 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, including 28 last season but without ever nailing down a guaranteed place in Unai Emery's team. Capable of playing wide on the left, in a forward partnership or centrally behind the striker, Iwobi may have been disadvantaged by his versatility at The Emirates Stadium but it could his strength at Goodison Park.

Brands and Silva secured Moise Kean from Juventus to compete with Dominic Calvert-Lewin at centre-forward but were looking for a direct but creative option to play out wide or through the middle to bolster the team's goal threat.

A big-money move for Wilfried Zaha fell through but Iwobi was signed at the last minute, an offer the 23-year-old says he couldn't refuse.

“The offer was too attractive for me to turn down,” Iwobi told evertonfc.com.

“The manager was telling me, ‘There is a spot for you, we will take care of you'. Basically, all the things you want to hear as a player.

“I always had that youngster tag at Arsenal, so hopefully with this move I am able to make a name for myself in the Premier League and create history with Everton.

“It is exciting times for Everton. I was able to look at the transfers and players they have brought in — some great talent.

“It is not just me. There were quality players here before [the summer] and they are still here.

“The manager has worked with Richarlison for a long while and made a name for him.

“Hopefully he can do the same for not just me but Moise Kean and a few others who came in, too.”

Iwobi wasn't registered in time to face Crystal Palace last weekend but it is unlikely he would have been able to start given his late return from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria.

He might be considered for Saturday's clash with Watford, however, a game that could also full home debuts for Kean and Jean-Philippe Gbamin.


Reader Comments (48)

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Annika Herbert
1 Posted 13/08/2019 at 19:45:42
I am hopeful this lad can be a big player for us. I have seen a little of him playing for the Gooners plus, of course, the highlight reels. He looks promising and is versatile.

Personally, I hope he proves to be the creative player we are currently missing in the central position.

Martin Berry
2 Posted 13/08/2019 at 20:11:14
He has all the talent, a great signing for us.
Eddie Dunn
4 Posted 13/08/2019 at 20:15:30
I think he will prove to be an important player for us over the next few years.
Mike Doyle
5 Posted 13/08/2019 at 20:42:03
Anyone aged 23 who has played 100+ times for Arsenal has not done so by accident.

At the risk of sounding like Louie Walsh, he reminds me of a Steven Pienaar – albeit a bigger, faster, stronger version. Hope he proves me right.

Bill Gienapp
6 Posted 13/08/2019 at 20:53:51
Not as sexy as the Zaha signing would have been (and the move perhaps got a bit unfairly shaded, since it was positioned as a "consolation prize" on deadline day) – but could pay bigger dividends in the long run, given that Iwobi is younger, cheaper and more versatile.

Excited to see how he does this season.

Joe Corgan
7 Posted 13/08/2019 at 21:38:35
Interesting to head over to the Arsenal forum and read their thoughts. Generally they see him as a central attacking midfielder who's been stuck out on the wing. They don't seem particularly bothered about losing him except for a few people who are sorry to see any product of their youth system move on.

Basically it's similar to how we would feel if we sold Tom Davies – probably not a massive loss to the team overall but we'd be sorry to see him go.

Oliver Molloy
8 Posted 13/08/2019 at 21:51:29
“The manager was telling me, ‘There is a spot for you, we will take care of you'. Basically, all the things you want to hear as a player"

Silva under pressure to play him then! lol

Mike Doyle
9 Posted 13/08/2019 at 21:55:12
The couple of Arsenal fans I know tell me they would have preferred to have kept him.
Sam Hoare
10 Posted 13/08/2019 at 22:05:02
Mike@5 my thoughts entirely. Not many 23-year-olds who have that much experience in PL. Plus international and European games.

I wonder if Silva sees him more as a central option. Having some successful ball carriers in the middle will really help us attack I think.

We won't see this team this weekend but at some point I'd like to see a 4-3-3 with:

Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Gomes Gbamin Iwobi
Richarlison Calvert-Lewin Kean

With Kean and Richarlison not playing too wide but looking to run off Calvert-Lewin like Mane and Salah do for RS.

Clarence Yurcan
11 Posted 13/08/2019 at 22:10:38
I like his comments. He seems determined to succeed here.
Mike Doyle
14 Posted 13/08/2019 at 22:26:29
Sam I'd like to see 4-3-3 too at some point – especially at home. However I suspect Delph & Iwobi have been brought in to be starters and I don't see Sigurdsson or Richarlison being dropped.

This suggests to me something resembling a ‘fluid' 4-5-1 away from home. so probably Calvert-Lewin & Kean will rotate as the ‘1'.

Am looking to see how Delph & Iwobi will be fitted in as both are good at bringing the ball forward. In other words, I haven't a clue what Marco has in mind!!

Gavin Johnson
16 Posted 13/08/2019 at 23:04:45
Iwobi is certainly a different option to Bernard on the left wing but I see a bigger future for him as a different option to Sigurdsson as CAM.
Mike Corcoran
17 Posted 13/08/2019 at 23:23:20
The Arsenal full backs loved playing with him so maybe a DigWobi on the cards
Si Smith
18 Posted 13/08/2019 at 23:32:10
For Iwobi it's about bottle now, I've seen him play many times, he almost changed the Europa final for Arsenal, he is a main stay in Nigeria's team and now it's time for him to grab the bull by the horns and become all that his attributes say he can be.

A lot of what is needed is down to decision making, he has to learn to make the right decision more than he has before, with that will come game time and confidence, then he can set his stall up to become a big player for the blues.

I'd say a fair target would be double figures in terms of goals, maybe 15 to 18 in goals and assist, this should be something an attacking player should be doing to become a main stay, just as Richalison and Siggy have done last season.

Players often just click into gear, a new contract, a change of position, a new manager, but more often a new club is the best solution. Like he has said himself he was always a kid at Arsenal, but at Everton he has come in as a big money signing, an established international who is at an age were he should be ready to take his game to the top level over the course of the next few years.

Let's hope we can watch him do it.

Graham Hammond
19 Posted 13/08/2019 at 23:43:52
Hopefully, Marco will mix things up a bit for Watford as the team is not functioning offensively well at present (pre-season was again predictably dire). Sigurdsson was poor on Saturday and therefore should make way for Iwobi to give us a little bit more pace and creativity going forward. We can look at both Bernard and Iwobi in the Sigurdsson role and alternate the two if necessary.

Players need a kick up the rear when they are not performing and need to be given a clear message from Silva that we have a squad and it will be used when we are under-performing.

You do not play 150 games for Arsenal (by the age of 23) without having quality. For what it is also worth, the three Arsenal fans I know were disappointed that Iwobi was not retained by the Gunners and they are supporters that expect trophies!

Alexander Murphy
20 Posted 13/08/2019 at 23:56:52
I found our signing of Alex "interesting", like when we signed Pienaar. Not a signing which set the pulse racing, nor one which caused dismay.

Interesting, because he wasn't awaiting his breakthrough at Arsenal, nor was he "nailed on" every week. Having said that, 100 first-team appearances is (yet again) "interesting".

What his signing does emphasise is a dressing room full of lads of a similar age... And, if MS gets them to gel, then he can ignite a team set for a decade.

"Band of Brothers".

Barry Jones
21 Posted 14/08/2019 at 02:21:13
I really hope he does well. I watched Arsenal a lot last season. Iwobi played a lot of games. He was OK but nothing really standout. The only really impressive midfielder was Ramsey, and the manager decided he would cut him loose (rashly) at the start of the season. So hopefully, another dreadful mistake by Emery will work for us.
Jack Convery
22 Posted 14/08/2019 at 02:51:21
Welcome, Alex, I'm looking forward to seeing you in the Royal Blue.

Si Cooper
23 Posted 14/08/2019 at 03:23:55
My image of him is based on very limited viewing but strengths seem to be athletic, quick and decent on the ball. Main weakness was not clinical enough with creative passing.

If he can eradicate all / some of those misdirected passes then he should prove to be a decent signing. If he can add some goals as well then I think he could be an excellent signing. Not sure who he is expected to be competing with for a starting spot but if he makes himself a definite first choice then he will be doing well and the team should improve because of it.

I don't assume he is guaranteed a starting role, just that Silva has promised he will get a fair crack of the whip if he rises to the challenge.

Jim Harrison
24 Posted 14/08/2019 at 05:35:03
My conspiracy theory may have been stated before!!

Never interested in Zaha, just playing palace week one.

Never interested in Dacoure, just playing Watford week 2

Pure disruption!!

Iwobi always the real target, just cloak and daggers to make it look like last minute alternative.

Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 14/08/2019 at 05:45:03
Oliver (#8); I thought thank heavens he qualified his remarks about being told that there is a place for him by saying that there are already some great players at Everton, saves a few noses needing put back in joint. Well, may be until Saturday.
Paul Richardson
26 Posted 14/08/2019 at 08:53:42
I think this is promising. Football London are reporting that UK investment company Carteret Analytics calculate Iwobi's value as being £46.3m, based on: "a calculated fee based on performances for the selling club and the projected impact on the buying club, as well as taking into consideration their prime age."

So it appears this deal is more transfer magic from Marcel Brands...I go with Jim Harrison's theory!

John Hammond
27 Posted 14/08/2019 at 09:39:46
Iwobi is an excellent passer, however, last season his success rate dropped a little. There's a stat from Opta that shows his passes into the penalty area per game was the highest in Europe bar 5 players so this could account for that drop - He's getting a lot of balls into the box but needs to improve his quality.

He also had more assists and created more big chances than any Everton player bar Sigurdsson. What makes these stats even more impressive is that although he played 35 games he was only on the pitch for a total of 1976 minutes.

At 23, playing 90 minutes each week and getting coaching from Silva, he can only improve. On top of all that, his versatility will be very handy and I think we might have a player and half on our hands.

Mal van Schaick
28 Posted 14/08/2019 at 11:19:09
Given a good run of games, Iwobi will be a good player for us.
Daniel A Johnson
29 Posted 14/08/2019 at 12:12:09
Love the optimism and hope he comes good.

But what did Unai Emery, one of the best coaches in Europe, not see in the lad?

Mike Doyle
30 Posted 14/08/2019 at 12:23:13
Daniel. Not sure what Unai Emery didn't see in Iwobi – not sure what he didn't see in Aaron Ramsey either – who usually seemed to be Arsenal's best player when I've watched them.
Steve Ferns
31 Posted 14/08/2019 at 12:28:04
Is it not simply a case of Arsenal got better in Pepe. He scored 35 goals in 74 games in Ligue 1 for Lille. Iwobi has 11 league goals in his career! So they have gone big for goals and paid for it. 㿲m + according to reports. Which means that they need to recoup money as Arsenal balance the books and presumably FFP was an issue too. So, it's not a case of Iwobi not being good enough for Arsenal, but they signed top quality and let him go to balance the books.

Mike, I think Emery had no choice over Ramsey who Arsenal had already allowed to run his contract into a final season, and he was already set for a Bosman, and had no doubt been promised mega money as the buyers would not have to pay a transfer fee.

Chris Gould
32 Posted 14/08/2019 at 12:28:20
Daniel, Emery obviously saw a lot in the lad. He trusted him 51 times across all competitions last season. Selling him will have been due to Arsenal's willingness to balance the books and offset some of the Pepe fee.

Emery may have had nothing to do with the decision as I'm sure he would rather have such a versatile player in his squad.

Stan Schofield
33 Posted 14/08/2019 at 13:04:34
I didn't know much about this lad until we signed him, but after reading the thread about his role at Arsenal as an 'enabler of overlapping fullbacks', the possibilities for his role are intriguing given the qualities of our full backs. If he did this 'enabling' role successfully, it could be very exciting.
Si Smith
34 Posted 14/08/2019 at 13:41:56
John 27, Very interesting 👍
Derek Knox
35 Posted 14/08/2019 at 15:06:45
Stan @ 33, I don't think many of us knew much about him, mainly because until Transfer Deadline Day, he hadn't been linked with us or anywhere else for that matter.

I have to admit I was totally surprised by his acquisition, but not disappointed either, of course time will tell if he has been a good choice or not.

He may turn out to be a bargain we will just have to wait and see, I am looking forward to seeing him play and he has my backing as a supporter.

Josh Barber
36 Posted 14/08/2019 at 17:36:50
I'm sort of surprised how many ToffeeWebbers rarely watch Arsenal. I watch them a lot in the US because (like all top 6 teams) they're constantly televised. Iwobi for me was one of those scary subs that looked dangerous but rarely stood out with quality.

However, someone else linked an article with Iwobi's stats and how he consistently is top 10 in the Premier League in dangerous passes in the penalty box, and I can only say that if he can do that for us he could transform our attack into something beautiful to watch.

My only hesitations are 1) Possibly Everton players don't stay in motion in the attacking 3rd like Arsenal teammates would have 2) Iwobi becomes a great passer but his finishing isn't great.

Still I'm optimistic that for us he will become one of our best players – not to mention his versatility! I think he can do just about anything Bernard can do and hopefully score more goals.

Minik Hansen
37 Posted 14/08/2019 at 17:44:09
Interesting to see if Walcott already being here from Arsenal and welcoming him to the new club, will have some kind of a positive impact on Iwobi, both on and off the pitch. It's someone to relate to and he can listen and talk to, taking advice from Walcott that is older and all, etc.
Jerome Shields
38 Posted 14/08/2019 at 17:52:21
I am hopeful that Iowbi will add engagement, pace and movement in midfield and the right flank.

The midfield and right flank are not mobile or fast enough and Everton are too dependent on Sigurdsson as the main attacking midfielder and creator. Walcott was largely anonymous most games he played in. He consistently achieve the least amount of touches than any other outfield Everton player.

Iowbi should help attacking play through the centre. I am looking forward to him playing along side a fully-fit Gbamin.

Mike Doyle
39 Posted 14/08/2019 at 18:03:59
Cheers Steve. Thanks for clarifying. I didn't follow the Aaron Ramsey saga to closely. Presumably Arsenal didn't fancy the contract terms he was after.
Paul Birmingham
40 Posted 14/08/2019 at 20:51:15
Good point Minik, you'd like to think Theo Walcott will be one of his mentors.

Last season when we battered them at Goodison, and should have had 8, when on the ball he had some good touches but was mashed Everton steamed into their midfield and ran them ragged.

Hopefully he'll recall the atmosphere that day and this will also spur him on.

It would be great to really turn Watford over this Saturday in good style.

James Hughes
41 Posted 14/08/2019 at 21:38:30
Another off topic, just seen the great Andy King would have been 63 today.
That goal in 79 is still a beautiful thing, ground went mental.
Bless you Andy x
John Pierce
42 Posted 14/08/2019 at 22:22:16
Always a tricky when you buy a, albeit young and experienced, player from better sides.

I often find their actual ability is masked with playing with better players. They have more options, space and can afford to make errors in the attacking third.

Someone noted of Fabian Delph playing left-back for Man City, is not playing left-back for Everton, he would undoubtedly get found out having to defend considerably more than at City.

Iwobi too might find the same as he transitions to Everton. I monikered him the Nigerian Barkley, supremely gifted but lacking in brains.
He deffo adds to what we have but has a lot to prove. I hope he finds a niche quickly, Sam earlier alluded to the 4-3-3, Bernard & Sigurdsson best get their act together.

Mark Pringle
43 Posted 14/08/2019 at 00:09:57
I think Iwobi will add pace and quality to our 1st team. Also, patience, as hard as it it is to hear, for the team to gel is key as we have really decent depth now.

I'd love to see us play 4-3-3 with Iwobi in for Siggy and rotating from central to left with Bernard. We have Kean and Richarlison who could also interchange and I'd love to see us line up as -

Pickford, Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gbamin, Gomes, Iwobi, Bernard, Kean, Richarlison.

With Lossl, Coleman, Holgate, Gibson, Baines, Schneiderlin, Delph, Davies, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Calvert Lewin, Tosun as cover.

No margin for poor performances now as we have decent cover in every position, especially at RB and CAM, so Silva has to balance gelling his squad with also being ruthless when necessary!

John Boon
44 Posted 15/08/2019 at 03:35:17
As expected so many fan proposals of who should play where and when. Also suggestions of formation and positions played by various players. All ideas valid and positive. Unfortunately, most football supporters are impatient and sometimes don't realize that it takes time for new players to become part of a productive functioning team.

Evertonians have every right to feel that there have been far too many mistakes made over many years. Most of us just hope that the next signing will be the one that really makes a difference. I have a bit more belief of late that the present group of players could bring about that next step to providing patient and loyal fans with a decent team that is just a hope of an optimist.

Jerome Shields
45 Posted 15/08/2019 at 07:08:37
John #44

I think it is more frustration, than impatience.

Most fans would have preferred a more productive pre-season and fitter players. It was the same last season. The fact that this hasn't happened and usual weaknesses are apparent going forward, after the first game a carbon copy of last season, doesn't help.

A saviour forward does not seemed have been the priority. This has lead fans to think in terms of tactics and changes to help existing players.

By the arrival of new players, it is hoped that improvement and changes materialise. Of course you are right it will take time for them to bed in.

But the loss of Gueye is being keenly observed and Schneiderlin's minicing role, which he was not fit enough to do, resulting in a red card compounds the problems. Gomes injured suddenly makes the midfield options tighter.

So Everton now play Watford and the pattern is reinforced, with Lincoln added for good measure.

It's like Groundhog Day. . .

Jim Bennings
46 Posted 15/08/2019 at 08:19:49
My first abiding memory of Alex Iwobi was when Arsenal won 2-0 at Goodison in March 2016.

Iwobi scored the second goal that afternoon and I remember thinking that the looked looked fantastic and a real powerful runner.

His career has yet to fully get into the swing of things but he's shown he has quality, the goal in the Europa League Final was sublime and if he can find consistency here and end product then he will endear himself.

Consistently and end product going forwards are two things we have been crying out for now for a long time, it's ok making nice approach play but not having the bullets to fire does nothing.

As I say, goals win matches, and winning matches evidently means you are progressing well.

Derek Taylor
47 Posted 15/08/2019 at 13:54:15
An average player leaving one average team for another.
Derek Knox
48 Posted 15/08/2019 at 15:13:45
Derek, for God's sake put SOME liquid in your glass so you can at least say it's half empty!
Ryan Holroyd
49 Posted 15/08/2019 at 17:54:43
I don't know why people bother with Derek Taylor. He's clearly a troll
Derek Knox
50 Posted 15/08/2019 at 18:53:38
Ryan, more like a RS! He can't support Everton!
Ryan Holroyd
51 Posted 15/08/2019 at 19:32:17
More likely Derek. I think he used to post under the name 'Phil Waring'
Si Smith
52 Posted 17/08/2019 at 00:53:24
Derek Taylor 47: 😴😴😴

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