Arsenal attacker, Alex Iwobi will not be leaving Emirates Stadium this summer after all, sequel to the inability of Everton to seal a £30m deal for the Super Eagles’ playmaker.
With deadline day looming large in the English Premier League this Thursday, Everton tried to pull off a shock late bid for Iwobi, only to find their efforts rebuffed by Arsenal.
With Iwobi still basking in the euphoria of his notable contributions and a goal to the Eagles’ surge to third place at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, his stock has shot massively upwards, thereby making him more than relevant to The Gunners’ immediate future.
Though his AFCON 2019 exploits also put Iwobi into the summer spotlight, The Gunners have held firm to ward off interest in their youngster, who joined the London club as a five year old and previously captain their under-21 team, before getting his place in the main squad.
Iwobi will now stay on much longer at Arsenal, with high hopes of getting a breakthrough spell in the regular stating 11 all through this season, despite being ruled out of their opening game this Sunday against Newcastle United, on account of the extended break he got from pre-season, due to his exertions at the Nations Cup.
Dramatically, Everton have had a £30m bid for Iwobi and a loan offer for Manchester United defender, Chris Smalling rejected, but The Toffees are expected to return with an improved bid for 23-year-old Eagles star, but the offer is likely to have to exceed £40m to be accepted.
Iwobi is not agitating to leave but is willing to move if a deal is agreed and, had Everton pulled off their bid to sign him this season, the midfielder, who is also an attacker-cum-winger, would have become the most expensive Nigerian player in history.
Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho is the costliest Nigerian player ever, following his switch from Manchester City for £25m, but his current form is well below that of Iwobi, who played 51 games for Arsenal last season, with a total of 2,839 minutes, six goals and nine assists.
However, while Iwobi under contract at Emirates Stadium until 2022, Everton are ready to try Arsenal’s resolve to the limit, as The Toffees have been touted to return with an improved offer before the transfer window closes at 5pm on Thursday.
The move from Goodison Park for Iwobi heightened after the club failed in their efforts to sign Watford midfielder, Abdoulaye Doucoure, such that Everton are now considering alternative targets after their second bid of £36.7m was turned down on Tuesday.
Iwobi is still on the cards to move over to the former club of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Joseph Yobo and Victor Anichebe, despite The Toffees having already caught another midfielder in James McCarthy, after Crystal Palace agreed of a fee of £8.5m with Everton for his services.
It was further gathered that The Toffees turned their attention to Iwobi after failing in their attempts to prise Wilfried Zaha away from Palace, while also noting that the Eagles’ playmaker may find game time harder to come by at the Emirates Stadium this season.
Iwobi’s chances of regular playing time this term appear limited with Arsenal having spent £72m on Nicolas Pepe from Lille Metropole of France, but The Gunners have turned down an opening offer of £25m up front, plus £5m in potential add-ons from Goodison Park.