Alex Iwobi reveals how Arsenal signing Nicolas Pepe ‘nudged’ him to Everton move
Alex Iwobi has revealed how he was encouraged by Arsenal to leave the club and join Everton in the summer of 2019.
The Nigerian international joined Arsenal’s academy at the age of eight and went through the youth teams before making his first-team debut 11 years later under Arsene Wenger.
Iwobi made 51 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners in Unai Emery’s only full season in charge of the club, but that proved to be his final campaign in north London before the move to the Toffees.
Arsenal brought Nicolas Pepe in for £72million that summer, a signing that was then used to suggest to Iwobi that accepting Everton’s bid, believed to be in the region of £34m with add-ons, was likely the the best decision for all parties.
“My last game was the Europa League final and he said to me, ‘It’s a shame I didn’t start you, I want you here next season’”, Iwobi told 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 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?”