Arsenal appear to have missed out in the race to Samuel Chukwueze after the Nigerian wonderkid performed a U-turn and opted for a move to Porto instead.
Chukwueze and fellow Nigeria Under-17 starlet Kelechi Nwakali were pictured with boss Arsene Wenger and former Gunners star Nwankwo Kanu ahead of the pair finalising long-term deals with the club earlier this year.
— Colin NOT Collins (@ColinUdoh) January 29, 2016
But it appears a deal has now fallen through for Chukwueze with the president of his Nigeria club Diamond Academy claiming the player would now sign with the Portuguese club.
Martin Apugo said: “Chukwueze is going to FC Porto.
“They are waiting for him to sign the papers but he couldn’t travel because he is with the Flying Eagles.
“We don’t know the length of contract he will sign until we get to Portugal.”
Diamond Academy had been haggling with the Gunners over a fee for the teenager, with Wenger and the club growing frustrated at a lack of movement over a deal which could have seen the youngster pocket £7,000 a month.
But days ago the deal appeared to have collapsed over Diamond Academy’s desire the net more cash for him with the player now reportedly having grown tired of the deal dragging on.
And Arsenal’s hopes of signing Chukwueze diminished even further when it emerged over the weekend that the player had held talks with both Monaco and Porto, with the Portuguese club seemingly winning the race for his signature.
His comments are in stark contrast to two months ago when Apugo suggested a move to Arsenal was still on the cards.
Apugo had said: “Chukwueze is still joining Arsenal, he will travel any moment from now to start training with them.
“I didn’t want him to go to Arsenal, wanted him to go somewhere else but he said he’ll be happy if he goes to Arsenal.”
The good news for Gunners fans, however, is that the club did manage to land Nwkalali on a five-year deal.
And he may turn out to be a prized asset after being voted the Most Valuable Player at the Under-17 World Cup in Chile.
He skippered his Super Eagles team-mates to glory in the tournament and was the subject to interest from Manchester City and Bayern Munich.