Taye Academy chief Kennedy Ezenwere has revealed the reason he blocked Kelechi Iheanacho's move to Arsenal in 2014 and instead chose for the striker to join Premier League rivals Manchester City. The Nigerian forward joined the Etihad Stadium outfit's youth academy in January 2014, and has since broken into the first-team and is the second choice striker behind Sergio Aguero.
The Gunners were said to have been keen on signing the striker following his impressive campaign with Nigeria in the U17 World Cup in 2013, but his proposed move was blocked by the academy chief, who cited that there was a problem with the agent who was brokering the deal. Ezenwere also suggested that Iheanacho had a better chance at breaking into the first-team at City rather than at Arsenal, despite Arsene Wenger's record of blooding youngsters in the senior team.
"Arsenal were interested in Kelechi but I blocked the move, there was a problem with the agent brokering the deal," Ezenwere told allnigeriasoccer.com.
"I picked Manchester City ahead of Arsenal not because of money. I know if he goes to Man City he has a better chance of playing there than Arsenal and I have been proved right," he added.
"Kelechi has now become very popular, it wouldn't have been so if he joined Arsenal."
Iheanacho spent his first season in England with the youth team before he was drafted into the first team by former manager Manuel Pellegrini for the 2015/16 campaign. The Nigeria international made 35 appearances in all competitions in his debut campaign scoring 14 goals. And, his impressive showing could help him retain a spot in the senior squad under new manager Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal, meanwhile, beat Pep Guardiola's team 3-2 in their final pre-season game at the Ulleval Stadium in Sweden on Sunday (7 August), as they finalise preparations for the start of the Premier League campaign on 13 August. The Gunners take on Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium, while City welcome Sunderland to the Etihad.