Galatasaray forward Henry Onyekuru is ‘longing’ for life in the English Premier League, where he hopes to model his career on Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
The Nigeria international is on loan at the Turkish Super Lig side from Everton, having joined the Toffees on the back of an impressive spell at Belgian side Eupen in 2017.
Due to work permit issues, the Merseyside outfit loaned the winger to Anderlecht upon his arrival.
He impressed with the Belgian top-flight outfit, but his spell was cut short by a knee injury that eventually ruled him out of a potential 2018 World Cup spot.
In July 2018, he was shipped to Galatasaray on a season-long loan and has made 26 league appearances to date, scoring 12 goals.
Despite the Turkish champions’ determination to keep a proven performer, Onyekuru – who has started getting the national team exposure required to help his ability to work in the UK – insists his ‘childhood dream’ of imitating Arsenal all-time top scorer Henry in the Premier League has yet to be fulfilled.
“I’ve been longing and waiting because playing in the Premier League has been a childhood dream even before I left for Qatar,” Onyekuru told BBC.
“I always watch Thierry Henry at Arsenal and learn more from him. I want to be just like him in the same league.
“At the moment I still watch some of his games on YouTube to learn how to move and score like him.
“I still don’t have my work permit, but that’s why I chose to go out on loan to get the exposure to move me closer to realising that dream.”
Prior to making a switch to join Everton, Paris Saint-Germain looked to be his destination, and Onyekuru has lifted the lid into happenings that saw him dump Parc des Princes for Goodison Park.
“I did a medical for Paris St-Germain on a Friday and we had to wait until Monday so they could make both signings [me and another player] official,” he added.
“Then I spoke to my friends because I have some good friends, and I asked if it was a good idea to play in Paris and they gave me their opinions.
“I also spoke to my mother and she said she just wants me to play because I’m young and still need to improve, and from there the right club will come.
“So I decided to go with my mother’s advice so I just cut the deal off – just like that. I told my agent to call PSG that we are not going ahead with it.
“The conversation with my mum helped my decision-making, so it was to a club with better plans for my development.
“We had Everton before PSG and we all knew getting a UK work permit was going to be difficult. But their relationship with Anderlecht helped a lot in finalising things.
“I was going to be an Everton player then play on loan at Anderlecht who were competing in the Uefa Champions League.
“I wanted to get the exposure and experience of playing in the Champions League hence the decision to join Everton via Anderlecht.”
Onyekuru’s Nigeria have been drawn into Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.
The Super Eagles will begin their Afcon campaign against Burudi in Alexandria, before meeting Guinea and Madagascar as they look to reach the knockout stages.