Alex Iwobi has spoken about his Arsenal exit, saying the club ‘nudged’ him into signing for Everton.
The former Arsenal star joined the Gunners’ academy in 2004 and would stay with the club for the next 15 years, eventually breaking into first-team under Arsene Wenger.
Iwobi made 149 appearances for the London club, recording 15 goals and 25 assists and winning the FA Cup in the year 2017.
It was expected that he would continue to develop and play under Unai Emery, but just one season after the Spanish manager’s arrival he was sold to Everton for around £28million.
The Nigerian international has now revealed that Arsenal gently pushed him out the exit door at the Emirates, but while he was saddened to leave his boyhood team, he was excited by the new challenge at Goodison Park.
‘My last game was the Europa League final and he [Emery] said to me, “It’s a shame I didn’t start you, I want you here next season”,’ Iwobi said on The Beautiful Game podcast.
‘So then, from the first day to the last day, Everton pushed and pushed and pushed. And Arsenal just signed a new winger [Nicolas Pepe]… and there were a few players that were still there, they weren’t ready to [leave].
‘[Arsenal] said, “We’ve received a bid for you, it’s a high bid, we’re not going to get this money from anywhere else”.
‘It was a nudge, “it’s a winger as well, that’s probably going to play in your position. It’s up to you”.
‘They’ve given me that, and Everton’s a club that’s also a very big club that wants me. I want a new challenge, so why not pursue it?’
Iwobi’s move to Everton hasn’t been all successful however, as prior to this campaign he had scored seven and assisted seven in 97 games as the Toffees fell further behind in the table.
This season has been more productive for the 26-year-old however, with one goal and eight assists in 31 matches, though his form has dipped since the exit of Frank Lampard and arrival of Sean Dyche.