Arsenal target about to 'go Zlatan' on them?

Nigeria Team

It was reported that Godfrey Oboabona was heading to Arsenal for trial, but now it appears that may not be the case.

A familiar tough-luck story could be about to play out at Arsenal, only this time Arsene Wenger will hope the cost is not as disastrous as the first time.

It dates back to the turn of the century, when Wenger attempted to sign a young Swedish striker named Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Wenger invited the Swede over for a trial, only for the invite to be thrown back in his face. Explaining the decision later, Ibrahimovic famously said: 'Zlatan doesn't do trials'.

They are words which will haunt Wenger because had he been bold enough to try to sign him outright he would have had one of the world's best at his disposal, with Zlatan currently leading the line at PSG, having won titles with Barcelona and both Milan clubs.

Now it appears history is about to repeat itself, via an altogether different proposition, step forward Nigerian defender Godfrey Oboabona.

Oboabona may not yet be a household name in England, but in Nigeria he is a big name - starring in central defence as the Super Eagles triumphed at this year's African Nations Cup, helping to shut out Didier Drogba against the Ivory Coast.

Sky Sports reported earlier this week that Arsenal had invited Oboabona over for a trial, but this has now been refuted by his club manager.

Mike Odoko, boss of Nigeria's top team, Sunshine Stars, said: "How can we send a first-team player of our country's senior national team for trials?

"The world has seen Godfrey play at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa where he featured in all of Nigeria's game till they won the trophy, so we won't send him on trials. I want to believe Arsenal have sent for him to have a medical rather than a trials.

"There are several offers from other English clubs, who have been impressed with his performances for Nigeria and that's why we believe he will sign straightaway than be given a trials. For now, there's been no contact from Arsenal to us."

If Oboabona did agree to a trial, it really would show his supposed love for Arsenal - a claimed fan, but international players will always believe they are above that, rather than set themselves up for potential rejection, as seen by Vegard Forren snubbing Liverpool's trial offer to take a transfer to Southampton in January.

The key line here is that no contact has been established between Sunshine Stars and Oboabona, contrary to SkySports' claims - but if the player has in fact been invited for a trial, it makes you wonder quite why Arsenal are messing him about like this.

It is fair to be prudent and want to see him first hand, but as Wenger found out with Zlatan over a decade ago, that is not really how the transfer market works nowadays.

image: © attawayjl

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch