Nigerian star Henry Onyekuru has described how tensions and fallouts at Anderlecht cost him his Premier League dream with Everton.
Without a UK work permit to play in England, Everton assisted by loaning him out to the Belgian giants where a major blow was a badly managed injury.
"Anderlecht wanted me to have surgery but Everton said no and asked me to come back to England. I had a check and one of the specialists there said I could just go through rehab and would be fine in a couple of months,” Onyekuru told the Athletic.
"I went back to Belgium to play but the coach of Nigeria had to call Anderlecht to ask them to allow me to play even 15 minutes so they could confirm I was OK to play.
"The coach was a crazy guy. When we lost it was our fault and when we won he said it was him. I was scoring goals but he’d say I’d been s*** and stuff like that.
The 22-year-old striker, now on loan at Turkish giants Galatasaray from France’s AS Monaco, further retold how Anderlecht created more setbacks. He was overlooked for the UEFA Champions League and also missed out on playing for Nigeria at the World Cup where the appearances would boost his qualification for the UK work permit.
"They [Anderlecht] were angry at that [going back to Everton and not having surgery] and also the fact my contract gave me the right to decide if I stayed," Onyekuru added.
"The new president was mad and was saying ‘who sorted this contract?’ They wanted me to stay one more year but I said no because of what they did stopping me going to the World Cup.
"The best chance for me to get a work permit was for me to go to the World Cup. The plan to go from Everton to Anderlecht was because I didn’t have the permit. I remember Everton signed [Romelu] Lukaku and we spoke to the president at Anderlecht because they wanted me to go before leaving Belgium.
"I felt it was good for me as they were in the Champions League and I wanted to gain more experience and play against big clubs. It’s why Everton were pushing Anderlecht for me to play.
"It was a big disappointment and was like a bomb had hit me. It’s the biggest tournament in the world and everyone wants to be there,” concluded the Onitsha-born player.