Joseph Yobo 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’ favorites, 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 although he has been capped 11 times to date, he 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 hasn’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.