With a goal and an assist against Barcelona on Tuesday, Samuel Chukwueze is catching the eye in Spain, but he almost ended up playing his football in North London back in 2016.
All the way back in the January 2016 transfer window, Arsenal were trying to seal deals for two young Nigerian talents, Kelechi Nwakali (17, at the time) and Samuel Chukwueze (16). Both arrived in London to tie up the deal and Chukwueze even spoke to the media about the transfer.
“Arsenal as you well know is a very good club and it will be good for my career; since I will be able to learn many new things,” Chukwueze said (via ScoreNigeria). “I like Arsenal because it is a club that gives young players the opportunity to showcase their talents and I believe I would be given the chance to play too.”
Unfortunately, whilst Nwakali completed his transfer to North London, Chukwueze didn’t. ScoreNigeria claim this was because of a few disagreements over the method of payment.
According to the Nigerian outlet, Arsenal were prepared to pay £1.5m, with 10% up front and the remainder when the player was old enough to sign a professional contract. However, Diamond Academy, who the Gunners were signing the player from, demanded 40% up front.
Diamond Academy had previously failed to pay Stellar Group, a London-based agent group that Arsenal used to negotiate the deal, the 15.6% of Nwakali’s transfer fee they owed. As a result, Stellar Group weren’t keen to push the Chukwueze deal through, particularly with the 40% demand.
In the end, Diamond Academy and Arsenal both lost out, as Chukwueze moved to Villarreal for €500,000. It’s been a better deal for the player though, as Arsenal still haven’t managed to get a work permit for Nwakali, whilst Chukwueze is playing regular football in Spain.
At only 19 years old, perhaps the winger could still end up with the Gunners someday.