Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, has revealed the reason he refused signing for Arsenal and Tottenham while he was at the peak of his career.
Enyeama, a Nations cup winner with Nigeria, went to Israel after leaving Nigeria, joining Bnei Yehuda in 2005 before moving to Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2007 where he spent four years.
He then went to France in 2011, spending seven years at Lille where he won the Prix Marc-Vivien Foé prize of Best African player in Ligue 1, in 2014.
Enyeama shone for Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup with his most memorable performance the 1-0 loss to Argentina where he denied Argentina and in particular Lionel Messi several opportunities to score. After the tournament, Arsenal reportedly wanted to sign the goalkeeper and now Enyeama says he rejected Arsenal and Tottenham because of one specific reason.
“Arsenal wanted me for second choice, but I was not interested. I also had an offer from Tottenham that wanted me for second choice also and I wasn’t interested,” Enyeama told ESPN..
“It was after the 2006 Nations Cup and then again around the 2014 World Cup. When I turned them down, that is when they [Arsenal] took David Ospina.
“For me, I was at the stage where I preferred playing even if it was for one of the smallest teams. That is what the agents that were involved told me. That Arsene (Wenger) wanted me but he is not so sure because of my height and things like that.
“People have their choices and I respect their choices.”
Enyeama also said he wonders why he never signed for British club Bolton Wanders despite going for a trial at the club in the early 2000s.
“I am still wondering why I didn’t sign. It was a trial that went so well,” he continued.
“They even told me I was going to get jersey number 35. All that was left was just to do the medicals.
“I was supposed to be number three, because Bolton had two goalkeepers already, with Jussi Jaaskelainen as number one.
“But I don’t regret it because it gave me the opportunity to go to Israel. I am so happy that I went to Israel because it opened doors for me.”