If wishes were horses, Eberechi Eze would be a Gunner next season. Nine years after leaving Arsenal, the English-born Nigerian is dreaming of a return to the North London club in spite of strong interest from West Ham United. However, many Arsenal fans are urging their side to seal the deal
England-born Nigerian and Queens Park Rangers playmaker, Eberechi Eze, is reportedly dreaming of a move to Arsenal this summer given he supported the Gunners during his early years and Arsenal fans have responded on Twitter.
Eze, 22, has been in stunning form for QPR of late – scoring 14 goals and creating eight more for the Championship side, playing in all 46 league games for Mark Warburton’s men. He has however entered the final year of his contract.
Several Premier League clubs have been linked with a move for Eze who left Arsenal’s youth academy in 2011 aged just 13. The Sun claim Palace made QPR an offer but were unwilling to match his £20 million asking price.
Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol has claimed in his transfer column that Eze’s dream move would be transferred to Arsenal – despite his exit as a teenager. He has supported Arsenal since he was a child.
The Gunners are likely to want an attacking midfielder with Mesut Ozil linked with a summer exit and Mikel Arteta side have been strongly linked with Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho and out-of-contract Willian.
But a new threat to West Ham’s hopes of landing the 22-year-old QPR playmaker emerged in the shape of Arsenal last week.
According to The Daily Star, Eze ‘dreams’ of a move to Arsenal.
That’s despite lifting the lid on his heartache at being released by his boyhood club when he was just 13.
So West Ham boss Moyes will be encouraged by a claim from Sky Sports’ self-styled ‘insider’ Solhekol this week, he dismissed any chance of Arsenal shopping for players at QPR and also revealed any bid matching QPR’s £20m valuation will be accepted.
“Ebere Eze will leave QPR this summer if one of the clubs who are interested in signing him offer £20m,” Solhekol said in his Sky Sports column.
“He grew up supporting Arsenal and spent some time in their youth set up so his dream move would be to the Emirates Stadium.
“The days, when Arsenal went shopping at QPR, are long gone though. The last time they signed someone from Rangers was 30 years ago when George Graham paid £1.3m for David Seaman.”
Now all that remains to be seen is whether West Ham can raise the funds necessary to secure the player’s signature.
West Ham do have an ace card in striker Jordan Hugill who is wanted back at Loftus Road next season after scoring 15 goals on loan from the Hammers last term.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have held further talks with QPR over Eze. Palace had a bid worth around £12m rejected last month.
Palace have been discussing a number of wingers as they consider all options for the England U-21 star.
Eze, who started his career with QPR, enjoyed a superb season in 2019-20, scoring 14 goals in the Championship.
Manager Mark Warburton will be desperate to hang on to Eze, who finished just one goal behind team-mates Hugill and Nahki Wells in the scorer’s list.
Meanwhile, Queens Park Rangers director of football Les Ferdinand has backed Eze for an England call-up following his outstanding form this season.
The 21-year-old has been capped by England at U-20 and U-21 level, but would also be eligible to play for Nigeria and has trained with their national team.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Ferdinand said: “A lot of the time you need to be in the Premier League to be recognised but he has shown the kind of form and, if he continues to develop in the way he is developing and keeps showing the type of football he has been playing, he is certainly going to put himself in the frame.
“People are going to start talking about him playing for England.
“We have got a few young players coming through the system now who we are really excited about.
“They are helping us in our campaign this season to finish as high up the league as we possibly can.”
Ferdinand has previously stated that the R’s could be forced to sell Eze this summer as they still look to recover from the £17m fine they were hit with in 2018.
Ironically, youth football was far from plain sailing for Eze, and a number of clubs are now counting the cost of letting the player slip through their grasp. He struggled upon being released by Arsenal as a 13-year-old and endured unhappy spells at Fulham and Millwall as he began to seriously consider quitting the game to go to work in a supermarket. But Eze impressed then QPR boss Chris Ramsey during a trial in 2016 and the rest is history.
Eze is convinced he struggled in his junior career because too many coaches took his easy-going style for inherent laziness. Ramsey took a different approach and that belief has been replicated by Rangers boss Mark Warburton, who has given him freedom to express himself fully in his number 10 role, despite his relative lack of experience. Warburton’s confidence has paid off handsomely, with 11 goals this season and a host of high-profile assists.
Eze made his international debut for England under-20s in October 2018, and for the U-21s the following year.
There is every indication that Eze’s days at Loftus Road may be numbered.
Tottenham are the club most frequently linked with the player but Chelsea have also been keeping close tabs, and Sheffield United too have been linked. With QPR showing few signs of shaping up into play-off contenders if and when the season resumes, Eze could be on his way sooner than later.
After all, QPR’s own director of football Ferdinand described the player as someone who is destined for a “top six” club.