Super Eagles forward, Alex Iwobi, faces a tough time ahead as he begins a second season with Everton. The 24-year-old made the surprise switch from Arsenal to the Toffees for £35 million in the summer of 2019, but he uprooted no trees in his first season.
Now he faces a stiff competition to remain relevant under legendary manager, Carlo Ancelotti, who has used his big name and connections to recruit James Rodriguez [for the third time] from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli, and Abdoulaye Doucoure from relegated Watford – all midfielders – as Ancelotti sets his team to challenge for a top-six finish.
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo in June, Iwobi had reiterated that at 24, he is no longer a prospect, that he has to start delivering on the promises he has been showing since he was 17.
“You’re no longer that young prospect, that young talent, you have to prove yourself, show why there was so much hype about you. The only way you can do that is in games.
“I feel I’m at that time in my career when I need to start doing that. I do need to up my stats a bit more, improve a bit more. I think that will come; I just need to be a bit patient.”
During the 2019/20 season, Iwobi played in 29 matches, scored two goals and provided zero assists.
On July 17, during a talkSPORT programme, former Arsenal defender, Martin Keown, predicted that the three-time UEFA Champions League-winning manager would buy players but even at that time, Keown could not have envisaged three international class midfielders like Allan, Rodriguez, and Doucoure arriving at Everton’s Finch training ground.
Iwobi particularly must understand that this is the third time Ancelotti has managed the Colombian playmaker, Rodriguez – at Real Madrid, at Bayern Munich, and now at Everton – which means Ancelotti trusts Rodriguez, and that the Colombian understands how the Italian manager likes his teams to play.
After his unveiling, Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, “A new stage for a new challenge in my career. Happy, eager to start and full of ambition, dedication, and commitment.”
He could well have been stating Iwobi’s mind, who faces not just one, but three new challenges to remain relevant at Everton, under Ancelotti. Everton kick off the 2020/21 football season with a trip to London to face Tottenham on September 13.