Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu hopes that his former club will give on-loan Nigerian youngster Kelechi Nwakali a chance with his parent club at some stage.
Nwakali, Kanu’s nephew, signed a five-year deal with Arsenal in 2016, but is currently on his third loan in three seasons. It’s not that the Gunners don’t want to give the midfielder a chance, but they just haven’t been able to get a work permit for him yet.
The former Arsenal striker hopes the club will keep the 20-year-old in mind for the future.
“Very, very good player,” Kanu said. “I hope you have seen him play, then you will know that he is good. He played for Nigeria before the World Cup, a friendly game against Atletico Madrid.
“He scored a fantastic goal, so he keeps playing and keeps progressing and keeps growing. I keep advising him. I hope one day they will open the door for him to come back to play for Arsenal.”
One thing that always helps with work permits is playing for their national side, and Nwakali has just received his first official call up for Nigeria, having only previously played in that B-team friendly against Atletico Madrid earlier this year.
The game against Seychelles on Saturday is an important one. Nigeria currently sit third in their AFCON qualification group, having lost their first match against South Africa 2-0. Seychelles are below them on goal difference, so it’s crucial that the Super Eagles get the win before they have to face group leaders Libya.
Nwakali might therefore not be involved from the start, given the pressure that comes with a competitive international debut. It would be great if he can get on at some stage though. We’ll see this weekend.