Former Everton defender, Joseph Yobo, admits that he regrets that his Nigerian compatriot Henry Onyekuru was never given the chance to shine at Goodison Park after the striker completed his transfer to Monaco.
Onyekuru was snapped up by the Blues in 2017 after a prolific 24-goal season for Belgian club Eupen but never kicked a ball for them as he was prevented from playing in the Premier League through not being able to obtain a work permit.
Instead he was loaned out for two seasons, first to Anderlecht back in Belgium and then to Galatasaray whom he helped win the Turkish Super Lig title this year.
Yobo – who was David Moyes’ first signing for Everton in 2002 and went on to make 259 appearances for the Blues – told Goal: “He is a fantastic talent and I would have loved to see his deal [with Everton] go through but work permit restricted him from playing in the Premier League.
“But he has shown what he’s got at Galatasaray, very exciting to watch and he can score goals as well. I was happy seeing him play for Nigeria national team but he didn’t get that chance to play for Everton because he didn’t play more international games to give him the right.
“For me as an Evertonian, I feel he is a good prospect and would have been a great talent for Everton.
“He did very well at Galatasaray and was one of the fans’ favourites and if he had his way, he would have stayed to continue his progress but then, the club wanted to do a different business which was against his wish.”
Onyekuru’s issue in not being able to gain a work permit was due to his lack of appearances for the Nigeria national team and altough he has been capped 11 times to date but did not feature in any of their seven matches at this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations.
That was never an issue for Yobo, now 38, who turned out 101 times for the Super Eagles.
He added: “Monaco is a good team but haven’t done well in the past few years. Everything is now new for Henry to prove himself again.
“He would have been happy at Galatasaray and done more because he knows the club and their culture but in Monaco, he must prove himself . He is a striker, young and still learning the trade.
“I wish him all the best and hope he performs well like he did in Turkey and ultimately bring his form back to the national team.”
“Monaco are delighted to announce the signing of Henry Onyekuru from Everton. Our new attacking midfielder joins us on a five year deal,” Monaco announced taking to Twitter.
Onyekuru‘s preveious club Everton also confimed the exit of 22-year old international footballer from their cub.
“Henry Onyekuru has completed transfer to Ligue 1 club Monaco for an undisclosed fee,” Everton said on its website.
In July 2018 Galatasaray signed him on a season-long loan from Everton to have a stronger squad.