Arsenal's Alex Iwobi claims he nearly became a Celtic player

By David Walton

December 10, 2018

Arsenal star Alex Iwobi has claimed that he came so close to signing for Celtic back in 2012.

The Nigerian was just 16-years old at the time, when he was told he was free to leave Arsenal. This season, the winger has been a sensational performer for Unai Emery, but it was Arsene Wenger who gave him his big chance.

In his Arsenal career to date, Iwobi has made 117 appearances for the club he loves. Yet it could’ve been all so different had he decided not to stay in London and keep his dream alive.

Arsene Wenger gave Alex Iwobi his big chance at Arsenal (Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Celtic, according to Iwobi, were the side mostly interested in signing him up. Speaking in Arsenal’s match-day programme, the attacker informed supporters of the interest in him.

“My situation was weird. There was three of us at the time and we were basically told ‘stay if you want, or if not you are free to go.

“It was up to me and at that moment I went to the Crystal Palace training ground to see them.

“I had offers from Celtic and Southampton as well. Celtic was the main one but I wasn’t ready to go to Scotland. I thought it was best to stay at Arsenal but I have to say it felt weird.”

What might’ve been

Iwobi is certainly a talent. He has five assists to his name this season, and has made a total of 19 appearances for his club under Emery.

Neil Lennon would’ve been Celtic manager at the time Iwobi had the interest on the table. It certainly would’ve been interesting to see how the Nigerian star would’ve performed up in Scotland.

Neil Lennon was the manager when Celtic were looking at Iwobi (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

In truth however, at such a young age nobody could’ve guaranteed that he would’ve developed the same way up here. With Scotland’s youth system there were no guarantees it would’ve been the right platform for Iwobi to develop.

Celtic could certainly be using him nowadays right enough. With Scott Sinclair still struggling to recapture his form of old, that left-mid spot would’ve certainly been Iwobi’s if he was a Celtic player now.

Regardless, with the club looking good for a treble treble, you can bet Celtic aren’t too fussed.