Some fans have disagreed with former Super Eagles captain Austin Okocha after he said he would have cost around €150m in today’s transfer market with the general opinion that his dribbling displays didn’t end often enough in goals.
The legendary midfielder joined Paris Saint-Germain from Turkish giants Fenerbahce for a then-African transfer record fee of £14m. The move to PSG was finalised following his impressive performance for Nigeria at the France 1998 FIFA World Cup.
In an interview with Turkish outfit, hurriyet, the 49-year-old explained why he believed he would have attracted such a high transfer fee.
“They paid £106m for their defensive midfielder (Enzo Fernandez) Chelsea. To a player from Portugal. I would have cost around €150m, my assists, dribbles… World football started to pay a lot of money. Such would be the numbers of players of this quality.”
After spending four years at PSG, Okocha joined Premier League club Bolton and led them to the final of the League Cup in 2004 where they lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough.
Fans however took to social media to knock the 1996 Olympic gold medallist’s comments as they don’t believe he would have attracted much interest from clubs if he played in modern football.
Tico Benson compared Okocha to Brazil legend, Ronaldinho Gaucho writing, “I really doubt that because you do more entertainment on the pitch rather than create chances for your team or even score more goals. Ronaldinho combined it all. Hence, he was rated more
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Another user with the username @Abriyin_ believes it is difficult to say Okocha would be worth that much when other Africans played at bigger clubs and won bigger club titles, “It’s difficult to defend a skilful player who played for the likes of Bolton and Hull City when Kanu and co killing it at Arsenal and Ajax even winning FA cup with Portsmouth.”
He also compared Okocha to French winger Allan Saint-Maximin who has also been criticised for showboating and not contributing enough in the final third, “Prime Okocha and Saint-Maximin are in the same category. Teams look for more than just skills and showboating.”
Twitter influencer Bayo Otedola compared him to Japanese winger Karou Mitoma whose major contribution is also dribbling and cost Brighton £2.6m, “You and Mitoma, I no sabi una difference.”
A Nigerian named Rayo believes he was misled by the stories he heard and video compilations, “Only if you knew how I bragged about this bros back then when I was little based on compilation videos I watched and what we heard about him. Later discovered he was an unserious footballer and I felt scammed. How was I picking this bros over prime Ronaldinho and co.”
Duke Austine thinks that Okocha did not do enough to be regarded as a legend, “Dribbling without purpose doesn’t make JayJay a legend talk less of class.”
Twitter user, @Instructor2Gym agreed with Austine’s comments saying, “End product zero. He won’t maintain a high value after two seasons.”
@GodsDawta1 also criticised his lack of finishing in the final third, “Big cap sir. Football has moved pass just dribbling and wasting the ball. Whats the end product of the dribbles is what matters. Okocha was good at dribbling and wasting the ball.”
Joel Morgan wrote, “I laughed hard. How much was CR7 sold from Juventus to Man U and Messi from Barca to PSG that Jay Jay feels he would have been worth €150m in today’s market. Even if we have to go back to time at his peaks in Bolton, he was never close to the most expensive player bought to EPL.”
Danielson believes Mikel Obi and other African players who didn’t cost close to that had better careers than Okocha, “With no end products abeg na lie and besides Samuel Eto’o, Drogba, Kanu and even Mikel had a better career than you.”
Okocha finished his club career with six trophies, 16 individual honours, 101 goals and 57 assists in 492 appearances.