Alex Iwobi has spoken of his delight after departing Everton for Fulham in a deal that just about beat the transfer deadline in a move that will cost the Cottagers a fee of £22m.
The Nigerian winger departs Goodison Park after four years on Merseyside, returning to his London routes after coming through the academy at Arsenal. He made 140 appearances for the Toffees, scoring nine times.
A regular in their side, his exit was one of four deadline day exits for Everton, with Neal Maupay returning to Brentford and Jean-Philippe Gbamin having his contract terminated by mutual consent. Tom Cannon also signed for Leicester for an undisclosed fee.
Unfortunately for the Toffees, they did not manage a new arrival of their own on transfer deadline day. However, Everton can be fairly satisfied given the much-needed capture of Beto from Udinese earlier in the week, with the Portuguese striker already looking an impressive addition.
Iwobi’s exit sees Everton securing a fee that could be worth up to £22m. The 27-year-old has signed a five-year deal at Craven Cottage and he admits he is delighted to be reunited with manager Marco Silva.
“I’m buzzing, I just can’t wait to get started, I’m excited to start my journey here,” he told Fulham’s official website.
“Marco Silva spoke to me about the ambitions of the club, and I’m on board. Hopefully I can bring something to the Club.”
Iwobi did not sign in time to make his debut in Saturday’s trip to face European champions Manchester City. However, he could debut if he recovers from his current hamstring injury when the Cottagers return to action after the international break when they host Luton.
Everton backed into a corner over Alex Iwobi sale
Everton had been keen to sign a new winger this summer with a prolonged pursuit of Willy Gnonto from Leeds ultimately counting for nothing.
The Toffees did manage to bring in Jack Harrison, though, from the Whites. The loss of Iwobi, however, on deadline day – the winger was one of their best players last season in their successful fight against relegation – leaves Sean Dyche with another hole in his squad.
However, BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty says Everton were left with no option but to cash in on the 63-times capped Nigeria forward.
He has revealed that, with Everton “strapped for cash” they were backed into the sale of the player once it became apparent he “won’t sign a new contract” at Goodison Park. And with just 10 months left on that deal, the Toffees will relatively happy to have received the £22m offer from Fulham.
Furthermore, once Silva came calling, McNulty reports that Iwobi made it clear to Everton bosses that he wanted to make the move back to London and sign for a side who finished a progressive 10th in their first season back in the Premier League last season.