Henry Onyekuru was born in Onitsha, Nigeria and made his mark early catching the eyes of scouts for the ASPIRE Academy based in Qatar. He graduated from the five-year program in 2015 and was immediately placed with partner club K.A.S. Eupen in the Belgian second division.
In his first year there, he immediately sparked the team, scoring six goals in 19 appearances as Eupen were promoted to the top division, the Jupiler League. Onyekuru proceeded to set the League alight, scoring 12 goals with seven assists in the regular season portion of the schedule, before bagging a further 10 goals and two more assists in ten playoff games. He also got two more goals in three Cup games.
A right-footed player who prefers to play on the left wing, Onyekuru has the lightning-quick pace that makes him elusive with defenders resorting to physical means to muscle his 5’9” frame off the ball. With that speed and very good close control, he tends to drift inside from the wing in a Arjen Robben-esque manner and he possesses an excellent shot from distance too.
The self-avowed Gunners fan was a target for multiple Premier League clubs who scouted him during the season, including Arsenal, West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, with Eupen turning down a bid for him by Celtic in January. His favourite player is former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, and Onyekuru prefers to wear ‘Henry’ on the back of his jersey in his honour.
With reports saying that he will be headed immediately to Anderlecht on loan from Everton, this will give him a chance to develop further at a better club. The Toffees already have Ademola Lookman playing the part of a quick forward, with Kevin Mirallas and Yannick Bolasie on the books as wingers.
Onyekuru’s searing pace and utter fearlessness with the ball at his feet is guaranteed to wow fans and critics alike when he finally makes his bow at the Premier League level.
In an interview he did with a Nigerian newspaper earlier this year, this is what he had to say about his future aspirations in the next three to five years -
“I wish to be in a top club playing in one of the best leagues in the world. Playing in the UEFA Champions League has always been my dream, and I hope to get there soon. Right now, my focus is to just keep playing and believing and the future will tell.”
That dream might come true as early as this coming season with Anderlecht playing in the Champions League, and with Everton hoping his development continues to the point where he could start in the Premier League.