Henry Onyekuru has admitted that his move to Everton in 2017 was a big risk.
The Nigerian striker made a move to Goodison Park back in 2017 after an impressive two years at Belgian side Kas Eupen between 2015 and 2017.
He played 57 Belgian Jupiler Pro League games and found the back of the net 28 times in the process. His rise attracted a host of European clubs, but Everton won the race and signed the 23-year-old for 7 million euros.
Due to strict work permit rules, Onyekuru could not get a work permit in England and had to be loaned out to RSC Anderlecht for the 2017/18 season. In 19 Pro League games for Anderlecht, he scored nine goals. After another loan move to Turkey where he joined giants Galatasaray in the 2018/19 season, the attacker made a permanent move to French side AS Monaco in 2019, but he struggled to break into the first team and the club has since loaned him back to Galatasaray again.
Speaking to BBC Sport the former Kas Eupen talisman admitted that the move to England at that time was always going to be a big risk, but he has no regrets about how things have worked out for him in his career.
“The first dream is to play in the Premier League, it may not have worked out at Everton but I have no regrets about it. When I received offers from top clubs in England, I knew back then that I needed a work permit to play. That it didn’t happen then has nothing to do with my talent but red tape that’s beyond my control,” he said.
He also revealed that the main dream was to play for his favourite English club, Arsenal and he nearly joined the London-based club, but a move to Everton materialised quicker instead. “I really wanted to go to Arsenal because I spoke to some people there as I was very young then. It was obvious that I was not going to play without a UK work permit. So, I went to Everton and played in the Champions League through a loan move to Anderlecht,” he continued.
“It was important for me to get more playing time and experience that I had hoped would help boost my chances of earning the permit. I can’t say I regretted this because I got to play against Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in the Uefa Champions League, this doesn’t happen to everyone,” concluded Onyekuru.
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By Prince Sobayeni