Iwobi begs Alexis Sanchez – Please don’t leave Arsenal

Alex Iwobi has urged his Arsenal team-mates, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, not to leave Arsenal after this season.

The two players will have one year left on their deals this summer and have been linked with moves away from the Emirates.

Earlier this month, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that their contract negotiations have been put on hold until the season ends.

Iwobi has now expressed his optimism that they will sign new deals with the London side.

“As you can see from stats, goals and chances they create they are key players in our team,” he told the BBC.

“Everything offensively almost goes through them. Even though we have other players they are world-class players.

“For the club it’d be great for them to stay, but at the end of the day it’s their decisions.”

[Daily Post]

 

Alex Iwobi – I can convince Arsenal to sign Iheanacho

Alex Iwobi believes he can influence a transfer move for Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho to the North London club.

Alex Iwobi feels the Gunners can cash in on the ‘funniest guy he knows’ but doesn’t see it happening in the coming months.


Alex Iwobi

The 20-year-old hailed his companion with the City forward and disclosed why he would love to see him in Arsenal’s traditional red and white jersey.

‘I tell you, you should see us [him and Iheanacho] on Snapchat! Always bantering,” Iwobi said.

“We’re roommates right now and he’s just the funniest guy I know.

‘We do get on well off the pitch as well as on the pitch.

“Maybe I can try to convince Arsenal to sign him – but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Iwobi amazed everyone when a video of him speaking fluent Pidgin English was posted on Twitter by teammate Ogenyi Onazi.

And reacting to how he has learned to speak the prevalent language in the Super Eagles’ camp, he said: “Everyone could speak English, I’d get along fine, but they’d all say, “come on, you need to learn your language”. So yeah, I’ve learned a bit, which helps.

‘’When I first went I felt like I’m an alien! I know they used to take the mick out of me, and I didn’t know what they were saying. But now I can understand!”

[Vanguard]

Thierry Henry: ‘Iwobi will be better than Payet’

Arsenal Legend, Thierry Henry has insisted that the team don’t need West Ham’s Dmitri Payet as Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi has the potentials to be like the Frenchman in a not too distant future.

Payet has refused to lace his boot for West Ham in his bid to force a move to Marseille but there are reports that Arsenal could step in and snatch the 29 year old who joined West Ham 18 months ago. A move which soar a spike in his form.

Manager Arsene Wenger has already turned down the claim.

Thierry Henry who works as pundit for Sky Sports says his former boss is right when he said Arsenal are in no need for a player like Payet, citing Iwobi as one player who could play at same level like Payet if given time.

Henry said on Sky Sports, “I don’t think Arsenal need a player like Payet at the moment.

“They have Iwobi who could be like Payet in few years time, he has been good for Arsenal playing through the middle.

“Iwobi needs games to fulfill his potentials and signing a player like Payet could limit his playing time, and it could spell doom for his development.”

[Daily Post]

Alex Iwobi – Early fame has driven me crazy

Fame can be menacing to rookies who take a first bite at it, and it seems young Arsenal upstart Alex Iwobi takes no exception to this.

The 20-year-old’s meteoric rise at  Arsenal  continued this week as he passed another milestone when scoring his first  Champions Leaguegoal as the Gunners beat  FC Basel 4-1  to secure top spot in Group A.

It is just 13 months since Iwobi made his senior debut against Sheffield Wednesday and he has since established himself as a first-team regular, elevating him to a level of fame which requires some adjustment.

“The only thing I do find difficult is when I am trying to go somewhere to eat with my friends and people are like, ‘Iwobi!’,” he said. “That takes getting used to. It’s nice to be acknowledged for what you do and the way fans react when they see you.

“When I was young, I didn’t react if I saw someone famous, but I seem to be like a hero to them. It’s crazy.

“With the money thing, it is mad. As a young kid, earning so much, having a house and driving a nice car, it is nice but it is something I keep level-headed about. I am more focused on what’s happening on the pitch than off it.

“There have been some crazy things. One time, I was going somewhere not too far from the stadium and a fan was following me. I thought, ‘this fan is going to follow me to my destination, I need to take a detour’. It was crazy. I was almost scared. I was getting worried. ‘Iwobi! Iwobi!’ For 20 minutes. It was a bit too much.

“Someone else did my celebration [in front of me]. I was trying to get trainers for my friend and this fan came and did my celebration. Okay, that was mad. It is funny.”

Iwobi prefers to stay incognito. It is well-documented his uncle, former Bolton and Nigeria midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha, regularly gives him advice, but his other family members also play a crucial role in keeping him grounded. Iwobi’s mother used to make him perform exercises in their living room, his father drove him to every training session and game during his formative years, while sister Marie, a year younger than Alex and studying at university, briefly had designs on becoming a footballer.

“She tried for two weeks and just gave up saying, ‘oh, I’ll just leave it to you’,” he told Standard Sport.

“We are always together, having a laugh. I went to see her the other day and I’m always trying to take care of her. She is just enjoying her studies now. People don’t recognise me because

I put my hood on and go disguised. I just want to enjoy the time with my sister.”

Iwobi has retained a sense of perspective in a whirlwind period during which he has made 39 appearances for Arsenal, including 28 starts, made his senior debut for Nigeria and scored his first international goal. It is perhaps why the work of the Arsenal Foundation has resonated so strongly with him upon a recent visit to discover the work done in the local area.

“I met a boy called Lloyd and he almost reminded me of myself,” said Iwobi. “I used to play football on the streets with my friends or at Power League and ended up where I am today. He used to do that and Arsenal is helping him to get to where he wants to be — he told me he wants to be a physiotherapist. What Arsenal can do for people in the community is a nice thing to give back.”

Iwobi admits he had no back-up plan had he failed to become a footballer. “I’d probably be in uni,” he said. “Studying what? I don’t know. I was alright at maths. I didn’t like it, though.”

Iwobi was nearly released twice — as a 14-year-old and aged 16 — amid concerns he was not able to physically impose himself on matches, but he came through a difficult period to earn a professional contract and rub shoulders with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

“Those two will tell you what you need to work on, but in a jokey kind of way,” added Iwobi. “I hadn’t scored for a while and then I scored the other day, so they would say, ‘Alex, your shooting is a bit funny’.

“It’s a jokey way, but they’re being serious, as I need to work on it. They do advise me, saying I just need to compose myself, relax, and the chance will come. Off the pitch, I talk to them, have banter. Mesut, in particular. I have to call him ‘my boss’ because he assisted me the other day. I socialise with them. They are funny. Alexis likes to take the mick when I don’t score in training. They are funny.”

Ikpeba – Nigeria has a bright future with Iwobi, Iheanacho

Ex-Eagles international, Victor Ikpeba, has been very impressed by Nigeria’s recent exploits in a bid to cop a ticket to Russia 2018. He further stated that Nigeria had a bright future with youngsters like Iwobi and Iheanacho in its stock.

The average age of the fourteen Super Eagles players that were given a run out against the Desert Foxes was exactly twenty four years, with Genk midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal talent Alex Iwobi the youngest members of the squad. Ikpeba says the Super Eagles have been constantly working hard and deserve the win registered against the North African opponents.

Iwobi and Iheanacho
Iwobi and Iheanacho

He tweeted : “Thank you to our @NGSuperEagles for working for what they deserve. The future looks bright #GoSuperEagles.”

Ikpeba won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1997.

[Vanguard]

Russia 2018: Neutralising Iheanacho, Iwobi will be vital – Algeria coach Georges Leekens

THE Algeria coach, Georges Leekens, has said on record that stopping the Eagles pair of Iheanacho and Iwobi would be vital if they are to beat Nigeria in the 2018 WC Qualifier.

The Algeria coach, Leekens said from the past games of the Super Eagles, the players are usually in a hurry to release the ball to the duo of Iheanacho and Iwobi, who are by far the most creative among the Nigerian forwards.

The games he was referring were the 1-0 win over Tanzania and the 2-1 win away over Zambia in Ndola. Games where the duo bailed Nigeria out with crucial goals.

Arsenal forward Iwobi opened scoring in Zambia before Manchester City Iheanacho doubled the Eagles lead, adding to his goal which condemned Tanzania to defeat in Uyo.

“We have found out the two most important players in the Nigeria team Iwobi and Iheanacho, in tight spaces their teammates are always looking for them. They are also good at running behind unnoticed,”he told the media in Algeria.

“The key is to deny them access to the ball, as whichever formation Nigeria play, they are key not even their captain Mikel. Stopping Iheanacho and Iwobi will neutralise Nigeria’s complex formation”

[Vanguard]

Sir Alex Ferguson praises fantastic Iwobi

Manchester United great Sir Alex Ferguson  says he has been   “impressed” with Arsenal  forward  Alex Iwobi this season.

The 20-year-old emerged from the Gunners’ academy last season and became a first-team regular towards the end of the last campaign.

The  Super Eagles   forward  has  yet to score this term but he has helped transform the Gunners’ play this season with Arsene Wenger’s side playing a more typical free-flowing brand of football than supporters have seen in the last few years, according to Metro.

And Sir Ferguson admits he has been impressed with the youngster, who he believes has helped to make Wenger’s side title rivals this term.

“You shouldn’t forget Arsenal  (in the title race),” Ferguson told Kicker.

“The team is more sturdy. They’ve got better and more aggressive. I’m impressed with the young boy Alex Iwobi.”

Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi has sensationally revealed he could have joined West Ham.

The Nigerian starlet is enjoying a fine season this term and is revelling with more first team football.

But it could’ve all been so different.

“Arsenal and West Ham were interested in me and Chuba  (Akpom), so we were training with both clubs for three years,” he told the Express.

“I decided to sign for Arsenal because I supported them back then and I always saw them as the bigger club – no disrespect to West Ham.”

[Punch]

Why Tijani Babangida tips Iheanacho, Iwobi to turn around fortunes of Super Eagles

Tijani Babangida has tipped  England-based attacking duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi  to turn around the fortunes of the Super Eagles.

Nigeria got off to a winning start on the road to  Russia  with a 2-1  win over Zambia’s Chipolopolo in  their opening  2018 World Cup Group B qualifier at   Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia, on Sunday.

Arsenal’s rising star Iwobi opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 33rd minute  while  Manchester City star Iheanacho  continued his red-hot scoring form for his country with a clever  finish in the 43rd minute  to put the three-time African champions  2-0 up.

Portsmouth flop Collins Mbesuma captalised on a defensive blunder by Nigeria defender  Kenneth Omeruo to fire past  goalkeeper Carl Ikeme  in the  71st minute.

Former Nigeria winger Babangida, who heaped praise on the Eagles for  beating Chipolopolo for the first in their backyard since 1973, said the Eagles manager Gernot Rohr deserved the plaudits for  starting Iheanacho and Iwobi in the encounter.

According to the   former Ajax attacker, who represented Nigeria at the France ’98 World Cup, the two young Premier League forwards could spark the Eagles’ revival if they are allowed to grow together in the formation for Sunday’s game.

“We have been struggling since we failed to qualify for both the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations,” the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games gold medallist told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday.

“For a very long time we have not seen the  winning mentality Iheanacho and Iwobi have  brought to the national team.

“They can fire us to glory if we continue with them in our attack – and I hope the coach will stick by them.

“They are good finishers and we should encourage them to play together in our attack.”

The  former Holland-based player backed Rohr’s decision to drop Leicester City winger Ahmed Musa to the bench, saying the German coach picked the right players for the clash.

Tijani Babangida said, “Musa was not dropped because he’s a bad player. The player who was selected by the coach played well. The coach could have dropped him for tactical reasons.”

The former Roda star launched a stinging attack on the Eagles defenders, accusing them of being  “too slow”.

“Our defenders were too slow and  the coach should work on our defence.  He should also work on other areas,” he said.

The retired attacker added, “We  should commend the coach for doing a great job. It’s been a long time since the Eagles played the kind of football  they played against Zambia.”

[Punch]

Why Zambia coach, Nyirenda, is super impressed by Iwobi & Iheanacho

Nigeria’s dynamic attacking duo of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho were too strong for Zambia as they were both on target for the Super Eagles in a 2-1 win over the Chipolopolo of Zambia. And the Zambia manager, Nyirenda, took some notes of the two wonderkids.

Arsenal whizkid Iwobi opened scoring for Nigeria in the 31st minute before Iheanacho who scored the decisive goal for Manchester City in the Manchester Derby 2-1 victory over Manchester United, fired home a second before the half time break.

Although Zambia pulled a goal back through Collins Mbesuma, the Eagles showed doggedness in seeing the game out on a 2-1 score line.

Coach of Zambia Wedson Nyirenda speaking after the game lamented his team inability to take their chances but also salute the lethal combo of Iwobi and Iheanacho.

“We couldn’t take the chances we created but I must say as well that Nigeria, going forward in the final third, the accuracy of their passing, especially the duo of Iwobi and Iheanacho was exceptional” He said.

“Defensively we were also poor in the first half. We have seen areas we need to fix before our next game. Hopefully we will come out stronger and better from this defeat”.

[Vanguard]

Revelation: Arsene Wenger wanted youngster, Alex Iwobi, to choose England ahead of Nigeria

Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger is not happy that his star player Alex Iwobi, decided to play for Nigeria instead of England. Iwobi represented England at youth level before switching to play for Nigeria at senior level.

“He should be playing for England,” Wenger said in January, and he did for a while.

Iwobi made seven appearances for England’s under-16s, three for the under-17s and one at under-18 level and, by all accounts, was happily embedded in the set-up.

But then the invitations stopped.

“He played for the England youth teams for a while but when it came to the under-19s, they didn’t pick him,” Wenger added

Wenger blocked Iwobi from representing Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the manager is one who is heavily opposed to the January timing of the Africa Cup Of Nations, which requires star players to leave during the business end of the season.

However, Nigeria failed to qualify to next year Africa Cup of Nations, which means the 20 year old won’t be leaving the team in January.

Iwobi said himself in January that he would have “loved” to play for England and it would be intriguing to know why the FA did not try harder to make it happen before this year when he played for Nigeria against Egypt.

[Vanguard]

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