Etebo is a wise boy!

I have read some comments on the move of Super Eagles attacking midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo to Stoke City.

Those who are against this move are merely expressing their desire for the Warri-born blockbuster to move to a bigger club preferably in the EPL or even outside England.

They argued that if, the former Warri Wolves ace had been a bit patient, at least after the World Cup, he would have attracted a major or better move. They summed up that he was in a hurry.

I think those that adviced Etebo to move reminded him that a bird in hand is worth more than a million in the bush. They reminded him to make hay while the sun shines. They reminded him that the money at hand is yours but the one in your bank account belongs to the bank until it is released to you.

Etebo has been a substitute player in Eagles. He has always had cameo appearances under Gernot Rohr who has loads of other equally talented midfielders. Throughout the qualifiers for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, he hardly started a game despite his huge talent. He always came on from the bench on most games. Suffice this to mean that the player already knows that he may have limited chances of playing in Russia except injuries stop any of his rivals in the midfield.

This means that if he is not fielded in most games, scouts and agents of top clubs may not see much of him and that would limit their attention and interests on him. So how would he get a big club offer?

Etebo has been on loan uptil the end of last season. He was in Spain and the club which he served on loan did not do well. His future has been hanging in the balance. He needed to settle down and plan for the future. He needed a long term deal to help him plan. More so, he perhaps wanted to move to England where a five year deal with Stoke City will not only guarantee him ample time and opportunity to plan but he also considered the British currency, the pound whose exchange rate to our naira makes him an instant millionaire in just a matter of weeks into the 2018/2019 season.

I sincerely think this is a wise move for Etebo. We must consider injury also. God forbid, he picks up an injury in Russia, which top club would want to sign a player with injury.

If this is not a World Cup year, it would have been a different thing. If Etebo was a first team player in Eagles, it would have also been a different scenario. The trend lately is that clubs are in a mad rush to sign players before the World Cup to avoid big money tag on such players especially if they do well in the mundial.

It is a risk business both for the moving players and the clubs buying them. Supposing a player signs a five year deal and fails to deliver wouldn’t he have gotten an assurance of his pay should the club decide to offload him before the end of his contract?

If the player shines, the club celebrates his buy for avoiding big money that would have been splashed on him if he was wooed after a brilliant performance in Russia.

These are the variables. They made it compulsory and necessary for Etebo to sign for Stoke City. For those condemning the move on ground that it is a Championship side, we can only pray that Etebo powers the club back to the EPL. I know that £4.2m for five years is pretty small but we must all remember that 25% of this amount which instantly goes to this boy without kicking a ball is quite huge. Like we say in local parlance “no be yam and beans”. Congrats Etebo. Warri no dey carry last my brother!

By Desmond Ekwueme

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