In his quest to realise his ambition of featuring in the English topflight, the Nigerian winger made a big-money move to the Goodison Park
Henry Onyekuru has no regrets over his decision to join Everton in 2017, despite his desire to join Arsenal.
Having impressed in his third season with the Pandas where he finished the 2016-17 Belgian First Division A campaign as joint top-scorer with 22 goals, the Nigeria international was snapped up by the Toffees for £7 million.
However, he was immediately loaned to Anderlecht following his inability to secure a work permit which would have seen him realise his dream of playing in the Premier League.
After completing loan spells in Belgium and Galatasaray – where he won the 2018-19 Turkish Super Lig title, he was sold permanently to Ligue 1 giants Monaco where he has struggled to find his feet. Looking back, the 23-year-old disclosed he is not disenchanted teaming up with the Goodison Park giants despite offers from ‘top clubs’.
“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,” Onyekuru told BBC Africa Sport.
“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.”
“I really wanted to go to Arsenal because I spoke to some people there as I was very young then,” he continued.
“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.
“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.”
At Monaco, Onyekuru seems to have fallen out of the pecking order under manager Niko Kovac having featured in just four games in Ligue 1 of the 2020-21 campaign. According to Foot Mercato, Al Ain are ready to table a loan deal in January with the option to buy the Nigerian at the end of the season.