Iwobi, 23, has signed a five-year deal with the Blues, and should provide boss Marco Silva with a stronger option out wide as well as Bernard, Richarlison and Theo Walcott.
The Nigerian international has only ever played for the Gunners in his career so far having come through their youth system. Since making his debut in October 2015, he has made 149 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals.
RBM: Firstly, how would you sum up Iwobi’s time with Arsenal?
Paul: He was and is great. He’s been at the club since he was eight, and while his talent has plateaued a bit, that’s less on Iwobi than it is on the club around him, which was stagnating under Arsène Wenger and lurching forward somewhat turbulently in the first season under Unai Emery.
RBM: Do you feel it was right for Iwobi to move on now, especially with Arsenal having just spent £72 million on fellow winger Nicolas Pépé?
Paul: I’m sad to see him go, but when you are in the middle of a squad overhaul and can get almost £40 million for a 23-year-old homegrown kid, you kind of have to do it.
I think this will be good for Iwobi’s development, as well - as mentioned, he kind of hit a plateau at Arsenal. It was a high plateau, don’t get me wrong, but he might push even further past his high standard of play in a new environment.
RBM: Many would think of Iwobi as a winger, but he has also played a fair amount of games for Arsenal in a more central role. Where do you think his best position is?
Paul: I think he’s better out wide, for sure. He can be more effective with his passing out there - he’s a more effective player when he’s starting the play than when he’s the focal point of it.
RBM: Would it be fair to say that Iwobi’s end product is the area of his game which needs improving the most?
Paul: Sort of. As mentioned, I’m not sure his best use is as the clinical finisher who is going to bag you 25 goals a season. He could score a few more here and there, but his strength is in getting those 25 goalscorers the ball, not in being one of them.
RBM: Aside from that, what do you think are Iwobi’s main strengths and weaknesses?
Paul: Ignore the Messi-centric text of the tweet and look at this chart:
Just another stat showing how insanely good Lionel Messi is. Only three players in Europe's big 5 leagues complete half his amount of open play passes into the penalty area per 90 mins. pic.twitter.com/n6KbXw7yYq— Ray Hamill (@FinerMargins) December 17, 2018
That’s some good company up there at the top, right? Passing is definitely his strong suit. As for weaknesses, well, sometimes he can have these sort of deer-in-headlights moments where he almost forgets who he is and what he’s doing, which are fun. They’re becoming fewer and further between as he gets older, which makes me think it’s an experience-related thing, so long-term that should be fine.
And he himself has admitted he can score a few more goals, so I guess I’d call that a ‘weakness’, although again I’m not looking at Iwobi to be a team’s top scorer, ever.
RBM: Who do you think has got the better deal here - Everton or Arsenal?
Paul: I think as of right now, this is one of those rare deals that’s pretty good for both sides. Arsenal needed money and needed to reshape their squad, so they sold a promising young player to Everton for a pretty good price, and Everton paid slightly under market value for a kid who could be really, really good in a season or two.
But if, in two seasons, Iwobi is still the player he is right now, Arsenal will have gotten the better of the deal, whereas if Iwobi takes off and becomes even more amazing, Everton will have gotten a superstar for a steal.
Our thanks to Paul for his time.