There was an interesting story in the Belgian magazine Sport/Football this morning regarding Everton’s young forward Henry Onyekuru, who was signed last week and sent to Anderlecht on loan for the rest of the season.
The two biggest takeaways from this narrative are actually unrelated to Onyekuru -
- Farhad Moshiri is involved in the business end of transfer dealings this summer
- Everton were indeed interested in Youri Tielemans, and could well still be in negotiations for other players
Chew on that as you read the rest of this!
Turns out, a big reason why the Toffees captured the player was because of majority owner Farhad Moshiri’s persistence and contacts. The writer of the piece Thomas Bricmont quotes Director of Anderlecht Herman Van Holsbeeck saying that there was interest in Onyekuru from 48 clubs (!) as they all jockeyed to purchase the player that electrified the Jupiler League last season, scoring 22 times with a further three goals in the Belgian Cup for KAS Eupen.
However, with Anderlecht not having the financial clout to compete with teams like Everton, West Ham, Paris St. Germain, Arsenal, Schalke 04 and more, they sat back and waited.
Meanwhile, Moshiri had met with agent Christophe Henrotay in Monaco to discuss the transfer of star Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans a few weeks before all this, when Henrotay had alerted the Iranian billionaire about Onyekuru. Henrotay is very familiar with the Everton top brass in his role as the agent of Kevin Mirallas and former representative of Romelu Lukaku.
Once Moshiri had discussed the Nigerian youngster with his team back at Everton, they decided that the club should make a move for Onyekuru. However there was a concern that the player would run into issues with obtaining a work permit to play in the Premier League, so it would be best for the player to get some playing time at a top club in Belgium, for the moment.
That’s when a plan was hatched to have the player sent to Anderlecht on loan for the season, where he would have a chance to play in the Champions League this season. Van Holsbeeck was thrilled by the suggestion, and the same evening agent Mogi Bayat was on a plane to meet with Onyekuru’s official agent as well as lawyer Laurent Denis.
Competition ramped up towards the end, with the player’s representatives also flying to France to meet with the PSG management, who were envisioning a similar loan deal, but with another Belgian club, Antwerp.
Onyekuru chose the Premier League in the end with Everton, signing a five year deal for a €8 million transfer fee. Anderlecht were the biggest immediate benefactors of the deal, taking on the player’s wages for the 2017-18 season, but gaining an electric player who the Blues will definitely be keeping an eye on.