Ian Wright suggests Arsenal could re-sign former midfielder, as ‘unbelievable’ trait pointed out
Ian Wright has heaped praise on Everton man Alex Iwobi and suggested Arsenal could do with re-signing him to improve their midfield.
Iwobi came through the Arsenal youth setup before making his senior Gunners debut in October 2015, during a League Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday. He went on to play 149 times for Arsenal in all competitions, registering 15 goals and 27 assists. The club won one FA Cup and two Community Shields during his spell there.
Iwobi left the Emirates in summer 2019 to join fellow Premier League side Everton. According to BBC Sport, the transfer was worth up to £34million.
The Nigerian has gone on to feature in 104 games for the Toffees, with 32 of those coming last season. In terms of the current campaign, Iwobi has played seven matches and chipped in with two assists.
He has been criticised in the past for his decision-making and flashy skills. But Iwobi is turning into a reliable central midfielder under Frank Lampard, having previously operated as a winger.
In the recent 0-0 draw with rivals Liverpool, Lampard went with a midfield three of Iwobi, Amadou Onana and Tom Davies.
Following that game, Wright lauded Iwobi and hinted that Mikel Arteta’s side could go back in for the 26-year-old, as he is the sort of pressing player they need.
“I’m so pleased with the way it’s going for him,” Wright said on his Wrighty’s House podcast (via Metro).
Everton ‘adoring’ Alex Iwobi, says Wright
“I remember Arsenal fans, it’s the same thing they did with Oxlade-Chamberlain, they ridiculed him. I remember watching him play in midfield early days for Arsenal at West Ham, and you’re seeing something.
“His ball progression and work rate, what Frank has now recognised him and put him there, listen to the Everton fans when he’s doing his work, they are adoring him now. I’m loving the way it’s working out for Iwobi.
“I’m just talking about somebody who’s making a massive difference to what Everton need – the work rate, his ball progression, his passing, everything. He’s the pass before the assist, people don’t realise it. Everton fans are now starting to realise that if they get the right players in and around him, he’s going to be a force for them.
“You look at his work rate, it’s unbelievable. It’s the kind of intensity that Mikel wants now and needs now, we need that, we need somebody who can press like that.”
Wright is certainly correct about Iwobi looking like a different player at Everton. He underperformed as a wide attacker at Arsenal but is now showing his solidity in the centre of the pitch.
Iwobi is impressing both Lampard and Everton fans with his tireless running. It is helping the team to win the ball back in good positions.
Arsenal return for Iwobi unlikely
The Lagos-born star is enjoying himself at Goodison Park. But it would be a surprise if Arsenal made a move for him.
They already have decent midfield options in the form of Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira and Mohamed Elneny.
Admittedly, Arteta could probably do with another midfielder arriving in north London. While Iwobi could be an option, Arsenal are likely to prioritise Youri Tielemans.
He is a step above Alex Iwobi and could be available for a cut-price fee. This is because his Leicester deal expires in June 2023 and the Foxes need to sell.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has fired back at Bernd Leno’s claim he was left out at Arsenal for all the wrong reasons.