Arsenal have exercised their rights to block Alex Iwobi from representing Nigeria in the Rio Olympics slated for August 2016.
Iwobi, 20, had been named in Nigeria’s provisional 35-man squad for the competition, and was likely to be part of the final squad, but the gunners immediately blocked the move, according to the player’s agent.
‘Of course I think Alex would have gained a lot from a competition where the likes of Barcelona’s Neymar want to play in,’ said Iwobi’s agent, Emeka Obasi.
‘I’m sure the standard will be high and as I said Alex was keen to go, but it’s not his decision to make.’
Nigeria’s under 23 coach, Samson Siasia added: ‘He’s a smart, passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated boy but the fact that it’s not a Fifa tournament Arsenal are within their rights to stop him.
‘Alex has a chance to establish himself in the Arsenal first team and if he could manage that this season then it will outweigh the potential gold medal.
‘His father [Chuka Iwobi] has made strong efforts, the boy has done his bit as well to be with us but Arsenal pays his wages and makes the calls.’
Arsenal face Liverpool and Leicester City respectively in the first two games of the English Premier League season, and Iwobi’s presence is a boost for the North London outfit.