Alex Iwobi has connections to another country — and it’s not England or Nigeria!


Arsenal is the only Premier League club that really matters among the Turkish community of London.

There are pockets of Tottenham and West Ham fans but even they would probably accept that the vast majority of their compatriots are Gooners.

The transfer of Mesut Ozil was a special moment for Arsenal fans, especially Turkish Gooners. Despite most of the 300,000 to 500,000 strong community supporting the Gunners there had never really been a Turkish star at the club. Ozil was of course born in Germany and represents Die Mannschaft but is an ethnic Turk who does not shy away from his roots.


Ozil is however, not the only player in the first-team with a Turkish connection. Alex Iwobi happens to be the nephew of Jay-Jay Okocha also known as Muhammet Yavuz, which is not a moniker – it is actually his legal name.

Okocha or Mr Yavuz happens to be a dual Nigerian-Turkish citizen which he gained back in 1997 while playing for Fenerbahce. Usually citizenship can only be obtained after living five years in the country but the Nigerian international had been in Turkey for just a year before receiving his. Back in the late 90’s only three foreign players were able to play for a team at any one time with a maximum of four non-Turkish players being permitted in the squad.

The Yellow Canaries managed to find a loop hole around the rules by fast tracking foreign players for citizenship. Just how they managed to circumvent the five-year time frame remains a mystery but it just goes to show what can get done when you know the right people.

Exceptional States in the Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship

Article 12 – a) Persons who have brought industrial plants into Turkey or have rendered or are being considered to render in future outstanding services in the scientific, technological, economic, social, sporting, cultural and artistic fields and about whom a reasoned offer has been made by the ministries relevant.

Okocha went onto score 30 times in 62 games and mesmerise Fenerbahce fans, pulling off audacious skills wearing his bright red boots. Iwobi’s Turkish-Nigerian uncle went onto to join French giants PSG on a $17 million move making the Istanbul giants a tidy profit.

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