Earlier this week, Hammarby confirmed the capture of former Nigeria U17 international Akinkunmi Amoo on a four-year deal.
In this interview with allnigeriasoccer.com’s editorial staff, Sidos FC Sporting Director and respected Nigerian talent spotter, Dominic Egbukwu sheds more light on Amoo’s transfer to the Swedish Allsvenskan side.
So many clubs were linked with Akinkunmi Amoo. We heard clubs in England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain attempted to sign him, so why is he going to Hammarby that is not as popular as the top European clubs that were chasing him?
The clubs that showed much interest were Leicester City, Monaco, AC Milan and Ajax Amsterdam. Almost all the big clubs showed interest in Amoo but we did not get assurances from them that he was going to play for their first team.
We also got some information that most of these big teams buy promising young players and immediately loan them out. We remembered what happened to Kelechi Nwakali so we did background checks on the clubs before reaching a decision. We did not want that kind of experience for our player so we selected Hammarby.
Hammarby assured us Amoo will play for their first team. When the boy visited the club, he trained with their U17 team, his level was too high for the squad and they shifted him to the U20s then first team.
The financial package Hammarby came with is not big, the money was not bigger than the other offers we got but there are other benefits for example they partnered with us because of Amoo, to be picking Sidos FC players for trials in Sweden every six months.
Hammarby came to Nigeria with their sporting director and chief scout to finalise negotiations, they were very serious. They came to see our players at Agege and selected some of our players, among them Alfred Olaniyan who was with the last U17 squad and Isaac who trained with the Flying Eagles last year. So the two players will be traveling together with Amoo to Sweden. The invitation letter of the players has arrived.
Myself, Oliver Noah, Chairman of Sidos and Solomon had a meeting with Hammarby officials at Beach Hotel and concluded. You know money is not everything, we saw the bigger picture, and we are also having a good percentage of the sell-on clause, 20%.
AC Milan were ready to pay 1.5 million euros with a five percent sell-on but no assurance of first team football.
How long have you known Amoo, how did you discover him? When did he join Sidos FC?
You know how we go around before any tournament, we normally go to all the 36 states in Nigeria to go and check for these players but Amoo was discovered in Ibadan.
We scouted in Ibadan for five days, we found Amoo and he played well. From Ibadan we took him to Ife to see what he can do and he performed very well again before we brought him to Lagos.
We go ourselves to look for these talents because most of them don’t have money for transportation to Lagos, where scouting tournaments are held.
We are waiting for the lockdown to end before we resume our scouting.Me,Sidos and Oliver Noah discovered Amoo at Lead City University, Ibadan.
What role did the famous Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic play in Amoo’s move to Hammarby?
As you are aware Ibrahimovic is a co-owner of Hammarby, he has some shares in the club. We are surprised that he made a video call with Akin and tried to convince him to choose Hammarby.
Ibrahimovic heard several clubs were interested in signing Akin and he made sure Akin chose Hammarby. He talked to Akin himself and talked to our Chairman.
He played a big role for the successful transfer of Akin to that club, spoke to Akin one-on-one, phoned him, so Akin did not want to disappoint him.
What is Amoo’s best position on the pitch. Is he a winger or attacking midfielder?
His normal position is to attack from the wings, we used him in that position at Sidos. We believe that this boy will make a difference at Hammarby.
Amoo is not different from Messi, the Barcelona captain, he plays the same type of football. He is very sharp on the ball, very skillful, it’s hard for him to lose the ball, he is a playmaker.
Amoo is still in Ibadan, when do you think he can finally link up with his new team Hammarby?
We are waiting for the Swedish embassy to open so he can go and take the visa, because their league is starting soon. As soon as the embassy opens he will go for his visa and resident permit. There are no signals yet from the embassy.
We are just very happy that we have concluded the transfer, I told all the European clubs calling me that I won’t pick their calls again once he turns 18. He’s a hotcake. They were calling me, the chairman and president.
What is your advice to other Nigerian clubs and young players interested in moving to Europe?
Most of the club officials are greedy, they don’t care where the players go, they are only after money. Osimhen’s story has changed now but he was lucky. He wasn’t supposed to join Wolfsburg because we already had a deal for him in RSC Anderlecht, where he can develop. Because of the big transfer fee they took him to Wolfsburg.
He could not play in Germany and it’s still the same Belgium they took him, to a lower club. That was where he discovered his talent. He was lucky, if not it could have been a problem.
Are you hearing about Taiwo Awoniyi again? He could not play for Liverpool and has been moving up and down on loan to different clubs.
When we moved Omeruo to Chelsea, he never played for the club, that’s how we learnt our lesson. It is not advised you sign for a big club first.
Our Chairman is trying his best to make sure everything with Amoo works out. We also want to thank the Nigeria U17 coaches who helped Amoo develop his talent. We are happy this transfer is finished