The Africa Cup of Nations is in full swing, and it is a fantastic window for all clubs to spy a potential bargain that has previously been hidden.
Amongst all the hidden gems though, there is also the chance for existing players to find their feet and form once more, and remind everyone what they’re capable of.
So step forward, Alex Iwobi.
Our Naija Prince, our Big17, our stepover king. Iwobi is blessed with an inordinate amount of talent, but making it flourish into an end product has long been his downfall. It has seen him as more of a bit-part player, rather than the first choice wideman that his touch deserves.
Iwobi had plenty of opportunity and gametime last season to boost his numbers. Unai Emery quite obviously has faith in Iwobi too, given the amount of time he has given the African winger. The problem is though, that Iwobi can only have so much time playing at the level he is at currently, until we inevitably upgrade or he filters down the pecking order to be an occasional supersub.
How frustrating is this? Very. We have seen on many occasions, Iwobi coming on as a sub to change the face of the game with his direct nature. His style actually lends itself to losing the ball. How else is he going to take on and defeat his opposing number without trying something daring? He can’t have a 100% success rate, so there will be times when he loses the ball.
This we can forgive, but when he has gone past two players and is in a prime position to either cut back or take the shot himself – but has a success rate that is distinctly average?
This is what needs improving.
His stature within the Super Eagles national team is high, and his ratios are better for country over club. This Africa Cup of Nations could remind him of what he is required to do – score and assist.
Without an increase on his numbers, Iwobi might just be looking at more time on the bench.