Nigeria's Uche Agbo 'football more important than cash' Featured

  • Written by  Oluwashina Okeleji
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Nigeria's Uche Agbo was signed by English club Watford but never played for them as he could not get a work permit Nigeria's Uche Agbo was signed by English club Watford but never played for them as he could not get a work permit

Nigeria international Uche Agbo revealed he rejected a lucrative offer from China in order to continue his football development in Europe.

The 23-year-old opted for a return to Spain by joining Rayo Vallecano on loan from Belgium Standard Liege until the end of the season.

The midfielder previously had a spell in Spain with Granada.

"It was a big decision to make because the offer and money from China was unbelievable," Agbo told BBC Sport.

"Yes, it's an awful lot of money from China, some very serious money, but after speaking with my agent, we both agreed that it's not the best in terms of career progression.

"The persuasion [by the unnamed Chinese club] only stopped after I had signed with Rayo Vallecano.

"I'm still young, I also have lots of ambition and at this stage of my career staying in Europe is the right step to develop my career.

"I understand Spanish football, the way the football is played suits my style and I decided to come back, even though it's a loan, but playing here will only enhance my development further.

Agbo moved to Italian side Udinese in 2013 but spent the next three seasons on loan at Granada in Spain, prior to joining English club Watford on a five-year deal in 2016.

Watford, like Udinese and Granada, are owned by the Pozzo family, but after failing to secure a work permit to play in England, Watford opted to cash in on the youngster by selling him to Belgian outfit Standard Liege in 2017.

After making 18 appearances this season for Standard Liege, he chose the challenge of helping Rayo Vallecano stay in the Spanish top-flight and possibly earn a recall to the Nigeria squad after his omission from the final 2018 World Cup squad.

"Playing at my first Nations Cup will be a dream come true, so it is also an additional reason to challenge myself," he added.

"We have a big squad of talented players in Nigeria and to be honest I can only face the reality on ground at my club.

"My immediate focus is very much on playing for Rayo, do my best to help the club rise to the challenge before us, then maybe I will get a chance with my country."

Agbo, who had previously played for Nigeria at the 2013 Fifa Under-20 World Cup, made his senior debut against Togo in June 2017.

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