Exactly 2 weeks ago I was in Köln. Lovely evening with my friend after a loooong day of travelling to Eupen where we waited and got absolutely drenched in the humid conditions. There was an Eupen fan waiting with us with memorabilia, waiting for his heroes to come and sign books and merchandise. Then came a big white van with 6 players scrambling out.
First off was this young man who took his time to say hello and briefly chat, and I mean more than just pleasantries with this fan. And there’s me explaining to my friend that ‘that’s the top striker. He won’t be here long’ without being too loud, until out of nowhere, he welcomes us and introduces himself, shakes our hands and puts his arm round us, along with the other players in turn.
I was shocked. Such manners without an air of arrogance about him after scoring a wonderful solo goal the night before against Mouscron. A journalist arrived to talk to him that day and I was so jealous if I’m honest. But the journalist was kept waiting as he showered and changed to then go back out and speak further to that same fan again.
And that was that. My focus was Diawandou Diagne until the train back to Köln where I said ‘I’d have him at Arsenal. Probably £5 million would get him’. I was wrong. Apparently £6.8 million will be enough. About five and a half match days at The Emirates Stadium will suffice.
His done nothing wrong except keep his head down and do his job and before he has kicked a ball for Arsenal, if he ever actually does of course, I’ve seen people laugh at his expense on social media. A lot on the other hand haven’t and I thought the same thing. Look at Rob Holding. He has been fantastic at Arsenal and why not Henry Onyekuru? He has the ability to score all types of goals which is a fantastic trait to have.
I genuinely think he has what it takes to succeed. The likelihood in my opinion is that he may be loaned out initially, but the only worry is that Arsene Wenger turns him into another Joel Campbell? I know this is a Belgium football blog, but my heart has overruled my head here. With players of quality around him he may do extremely well given the chance. Maybe, as well, because I personally like him, I’m looking at him more in hope instead of expectation.
If the deal has gone through, then my selfishness for my blog may say the real quality is leaving the Pro League. But to be someone who has been eager to write about him for a couple of months, then maybe this is my last opportunity. Ex Arsenal players are giving their thoughts through many different media outlets and the major sports channel in the UK have ‘broken’ the deal as completed. Until his holding the shirt and smiling at the training ground or has the blessing of Kanu, I‘m not stamping this one yet, but wherever he goes…
Good luck Henry…