Villarreal winger, Samuel Chukwueze has revealed that his inability to sign for Arsenal after his spectacular performance at the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup gave him sleepless nights but he described the incident as a blessing in disguise.
Chukwueze shot to prominence when he smashed in three goals and claimed three assists to help Nigeria lift the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile. His goals tally won him the Bronze Boot as the tournament’s third-highest goalscorer, as a teammate and close pal Victor Osimhen claimed the Golden Boot with ten goals.
However, while Osimhen signed for German top side Wolfsburg soon after the tournament, Chukwueze could not secure a deal with Porto, Arsenal or Salzburg.
The Diamond Academy product refused to lose faith in his own abilities, though, and after putting in the hard work back at his local base, Villarreal came with an offer he could not refuse. The rest is history.
“I have had setbacks when I had so many options to sign with Porto, Arsenal, and Salzburg but it didn’t happen actually, then, I went back to my academy and started training all over again,” Chukwueze told the Super Eagles Media Team via YouTube.
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“It was difficult for me at that moment because my teammates had signed some contracts with their teams and I was back home training with my academy before Villarreal picked me up.
“It shows me that you need to keep your head down and keep working harder. If things are not working properly as you think, you need to keep your head down.
“I think I am in a perfect place because of the setback, assuming I went to the club that I was looking at, maybe I won’t be where I am today, so it taught me some lessons.”
Chukwueze, 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) bronze medalist is also among five shortlists for the 2019 CAF Youth Player of the Year award.