Alex Iwobi Biography: Early life, Jay-Jay Okocha, net worth, club and country career & more

Football Legends | 10 Things You Di...
Football Legends | 10 Things You Didn't Know About Okocha

Alexander Chuka Iwobi is a Nigerian professional footballer born on 3rd May 1996. Iwobi plays as a forward for Premier League club Everton and for the Nigerian national team. He was also once an Arsenal player.

Alex Iwobi has been hailed for his prolific style as he can play in almost all positions in the attacking front. He also plays in the midfield position.

Let us now take note of some important facts about Alex Iwobi before exploring his broader biography.

10 facts about Alex Iwobi

  1. Alex Iwobi was born in Lagos and is from the Igbo region of Nigeria but lived most of his life in England.
  2. Iwobi is the nephew of Nigerian football legend, Jay-Jay Okocha, who influenced his decision to play for the Nigeria Super Eagles
  3. His current market value is £32 million ( about NGN14,941,496,255.99)
  4. The young Nigerian footballer had played for the England U-16 team and won the Victory Sheild competition in 2011.
  5. He played for Arsenal FC from a young age as part of the club’s academy and signed a contract with them in October 2015. However, he now plays for Everton FC, also in the English Premier League
  6. Alex total club appearances so far are 171 with eight goals in all competitions, six for Arsenal FC and two for Everton FC.
  7. Alex Iwobi is currently the most valuable Nigerian player with transfer earnings estimated at €73 million (NGN29,664,026,309.92)
  8. He was named the CAF Youth Player of the Year in 2016
  9. His father, Chuba Iwobi was also a former footballer who played in an amateur league
  10. Alex Iwobi represented Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and featured in all three group stage matches in Russia

You may also read: Anthony Joshua Biography: Early life, boxing career, facts, net worth & more

Alex Iwobi Biography: early life

Iwobi was born on 3rd May 1996 in Lagos to Nigerian parents. While there is no information on his mother’s name, his father’s name is Chuba Iwobi. He also has a sister named Marie. When Iwobi turned two years old, his family moved to Turkey. The family later relocated to England two years later, by then he was already aged four.

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The family then settled in the new place and the would-be football star grew up in Newham, London.

From a young age, Iwobi had always shown interest in playing football. He once said that he was encouraged in his aspiration by his mother. She allegedly brought people to train with him and to help him get better at the sport.

It is also likely that Alex’s father had an impact on him at those early stages. His father was reportedly a former footballer in an amateur league.

While growing up, Iwobi had formed a tight bond with Tyrell Robinson. Robinson had played youth football with Arsenal, joining at the age of seven. He turned professional in January 2015 and was released by the club in February 2017.

How is Alex Iwobi related to Jay-Jay Okocha?

Alex Iwobi is the nephew to Nigerian revered footballer Augustine Azuka Okocha popularly called Jay-Jay Okocha. His mother is a sister to the former professional. Many had likened his style of play to that of his uncle.

Both of them play from the same position but Okocha is adjudged by many to be more creative and entertaining than Iwobi. While Iwobi wears the number 18 jersey, Okocha wore the number 10 jersey.

In an interview with the official Premier League website, Iwobi revealed that his uncle, Okocha influenced his decision to play for the Nigerian national team. He had faced the big decision to either play for Nigeria – his birth country – or England – where he grew up.

He mentioned that he had been moved when he saw the way people in Nigeria respected Okocha. His words:

“Even when we were just walking around with him and in the car, the acknowledgement he gets from everyone… I thought, ‘wow, maybe one day I would like to feel like that as well’.

“He influenced me without even talking to me about it.”

Alex Iwobi Biography: Club career

Arsenal FC, London

Iwobi joined Arsenal while still in primary school and came close to leaving the club at an early age. This happened when he was at the age of 14 and later at the age of 16.

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He was first involved in a first-team match as an unused substitute in a League Cup match against West Bromwich Albion on 25th September 2013. However, he only signed a long-term contract with Arsenal FC in October 2015.

Then on 27th October 2015, the Nigerian superstar made his first-team debut for the club in a Round of 16 League Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday. Arsenal lost the match 3–0.

Iwobi made his Premier League debut four days later, and this time the outcome was different for the Arsenal team. The North London club won the match 3–0 against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. However, Alex Iwobi had had little impact on the match’s outcome as he came into the match as a substitute, at the stoppage-time, for Mesut Özil.

The Nigerian midfielder then made his Champions League debut as an 85th-minute substitute in a 5–1 defeat against Bayern Munich.

Thereafter, Iwobi started in Arsenal’s first team for the 2015–16 FA Cup 3rd and 4th round home wins against Sunderland and Burnley respectively.

After getting a first Champions League start in a 3–1 away defeat to Barcelona, Iwobi went on to score two goals in his first two Premier League starts in wins against Everton and Watford, respectively.

In the following season, Iwobi got a jersey number change as he dropped the number 45 shirt in favour of number 17. The shirt had been left by the club’s then Chilean forward, Alexis Sánchez, who had picked the number 7 jersey after club legend, Tomáš Rosický left it.

Read also: Alex Iwobi signs new four-year deal with Arsenal

Iwobi went on to feature throughout Arsenal’s victorious FA Cup campaign of 2016–17. He earned a winners’ medal as he was part of the squad that beat Chelsea by 2 goals to 1 in the final of the competition.

Iwobi didn’t stop there as he became a prominent team member soon after. He further achieved success with Arsenal in the 2017 Community Shield, when Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalties.

When underfire Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger announced that he would be leaving the club in May 2018, Iwobi had been one of the players that openly still loved him. The footballer stated that Wenger was as an “inspiration“. He, however, added that it was sad but exciting.

In August 2018, Iwobi signed a new long-term contract with the club, which was to keep him there until 2023.

In July 2019, after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, he said he was looking forward to returning to club football with Arsenal.

Everton FC, Everton

On 8 August 2019, Iwobi signed a surprise five-year contract with Everton on deadline day. According to BBC, Arsenal received an initial fee of £28 million, rising to £34 million with potential add-ons.

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At the time of writing, Alex Iwobi has played 18 Premier League matches and four EPL Cup matches for Everton scoring two goals in total. One goal for the Premiermisership and one goal for the EPL Cop championship.

Alex Iwobi also wears the number 17 jersey at Everton.

Alex Iwobi International football career

Iwobi initially started international football with the England Youth team and won the 2011 Victory Shield with them. He scored scoring in the final against Scotland. However, he chose to represent Nigeria when the time came his senior international football career.

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As we explained in an earlier section of this article, Iwobi himself revealed that his Uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha, influenced his decision to wear the Super Eagles of Nigeria shirt. Iwobi made his senior debut for the Super Eagles on 8 October 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th-minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.

He was part of the Nigeria 35-man provisional squad chosen for the 2016 Summer Olympics. But he did not make the 18-man final squad.

See also: Joseph Yobo appointed as assistant football coach by NFF

In August 2017 Iwobi was part of the Super Eagles squad selected for the month’s World Cup qualifiers. He, however, pulled out of the squad due to an injury. In October 2017, Iwobi scored for Nigeria in a 1–0 win over Zambia to secure the Super Eagles a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

He was named in Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the competition and featured in all three games as the Super Eagles were knocked out in the group stage.

In April 2019, Iwobi stated that he wanted to emulate his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha by winning the Africa Cup of Nations. He was included in Nigeria’s squad for the 2019 tournament. At the tournament, he said he would ignore the labelling of Nigeria as favourites.

The Super Eagles crashed out of the tournament at the semi-final stage when they were beaten by the Desert Warriors of Algeria, the eventual winners of the tournament. However, the Super Eagles came home with the third-place medal after they beat Tunisia by a lone goal from Odion Ighalo in the losers’ match.

After the tournament, Iwobi said he was looking forward to returning to club football with Arsenal but that did not happen as he signed for Everton on the transfer day deadline.

Alex Iwobi: Private life and relationship

Alex Iwobi is not married as of the beginning of March 2020. However, the Nigerian superstar dated stunning model Clarisse Juliette. The couple reportedly parted ways in 2017 after dating for four years.

Clarisse Juliette was a UK-based model while she and Iwobi were an item. It is not clear what caused their relationship breakup but many media outlets share confusing headlines of one person cheating. There is no explanation on who cheated on who.

The breakup also allegedly lead to the couple deleting their Instagram photos of each other.

Now, Alex Iwobi is allegedly dating another model named Erin Budina. But it is not a confirmed story yet as we did not find any of Alex Iwobi’s photos on Budina’s Instagram page. Moreover, neither of them has come out to publicly state that they were dating. If they are, they are keeping things private.

Alex Iwobi also likes to party. This led him into trouble back in 2018. What had happened was that Arsenal suffered a humiliating defeat to Nottingham Forest in January 2018. And Iwobi, who had played in the match, had allegedly been partying the night before.

There were also photo evidence as well. The Mirror reported that some people at the bash, held at a house in Soho, London, were allegedly smoking cannabis and inhaling laughing gas, sometimes called hippy crack’.

While it was not confirmed if Iwobi had participated in any illegal substance use, fans were angry that he would go out partying, a night before a game. His manager, Arsene Wenger also condemned the behaviour.

In response, the underfire player had replied:

“I received deserved criticism, of course. I have to be more professional. I have to be professional and knuckle down, and not let any distraction affect me.”

Alex Iwobi net worth & salary

In 2018, Iwobi had signed a deal with Arsenal that saw him earning £70,000 (NGN32,716,541.19)every week. However, when he joined Everton in 2019, the Goodison park landlords agreed to pay the Nigerian star a whopping £120,000 (NGN56,085,499.19) every week.

According to CIES football observatory, Iwobi’s transfer worth is currently estimated at €73 million (NGN29,664,026,309.92). This means that he is the most valuable Nigerian player and is followed closely by Wilfred Ndidi whose transfer earning was estimated at €71 million (NGN28,864,287,095.95). According to CIES, the statistical company uses an algorithm to calculate transfer values of players from the big 5 leagues, taking into consideration their age, the length of their contract, the influence of their football club, and other factors.

But we know that Iwobi also earns income from other sources as well. For example, Alex Iwobi is an ambassador of the DStv brand and appears on ads for them.

Also, he is a brand ambassador for Pepsi, which is one of the major beverage brands in the world at the moment.

Iwobi also appears on Nike ads as well.

All these endorsements surely interpret as big money for the football star.

Alex Iwobi Biography: House and cars

We know that Alex Iwobi’s parents live in England as the family is based there and he also lived in London from childhood to his transfer to Everton. There is, however, no picture of his current home. We don’t even know whether he rents or bought his house both in London and in Everton.

The Nigerian star drives two cars as of when last he chose to show them off. One of the cars Alex Iwobi drives is a Mercedes-Benz convertible and the other is a BMW sportscar.

Alex Iwobi: Career statistics

Since Iwobi started to play professionally, he has only played for two clubs, namely; Arsenal and Everton. As part of Alex Iwobi’s biography, we will look at his club career statistics and international career as well. He has played in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europe for his clubs.

Meanwhile, he has played for the Nigerian National team in friendlies, cup qualifiers and the African Cup of Nations tournament.

Arsenal

Alex Iwobi played a total of 149 matches for the Emirates owners and scored 15 goals.

Everton

Alex Iwobi, at the time of writing, has played 22 games for Everton and scored 2 goals in all competitions.

Nigeria

Alex Iwobi has played 40 times for Nigeria and scored 7 goals.

Alex Iwobi awards

  • CAF Youth Player of the Year: 2016
  • CAF Team of the Year: 2016 (as a substitute)
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About The Author

Obinna

Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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