The imminent signing of Nigerian U20 captain Kelechi Nwakali by Arsenal is sending yet more mixed signals to the fans (via allnigerasoccer). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bringing in new talent. Who knows, perhaps one day, some of these bright young things will one day prove to be world-beaters. Some of them won’t of course but it’s worth investing in a few to find out.
The problem lies more in the timing of the acquisition, given that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is under immense pressure to bring in players who will make an impact today and put more silverware in the trophy cabinet immediately. Had Nwakali’s arrival come following the signing of a proven, world-class player, Wenger would no doubt be winning plaudits for shrewd transfer market maneuvering. Let’s not forget how he picked up Kolo Toure from ASEC Mimosas for £150,000 in 2002 and then sold him to Manchester City for £16 million seven years later after he became an Invincible. That’s good business. But seven years is a long time and Arsenal fans are tired of waiting.
Still, Nwakali seems keen and to be fair, he was the 2015 Fifa U17 World Cup Golden Ball winner so that has to be worth something, right?
“He is in high spirits because he is joining Arsenal, he is one hundred percent fit,” Emeka Amajiriaku, the CEO of Nwakali’s current club, told allnigeriasoccer.
The 19-year-old is reportedly now free to come to London after Nigeria failed to qualify for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations.
“He felt sorry that the Flying Eagles could not qualify for the Nations Cup and has insisted that it is not the fault of the players, Amajiriaku added. “Heaven knows what happened, that is the way God wants it. ”
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I’m impressed here by the Nigerian’s deference to the Almighty. I feel that if Arsenal fail to mount a serious challenge this year for the Premier League or prove unable to get past the last-16 of the Champions League, Wenger will not be allowed to get away with simply saying it was ‘God’s will.’ That said, perhaps when Nwakali arrives he will bring with him some very welcome divine intervention.