Former Nigerian international and football legend, Jay-Jay Okocha, claims that it would have cost any club at least €150 million to secure his services in today’s transfer market.
Fenerbahçe paid a reported £1 million to sign Okocha in 1996 after Eintracht Frankfurt was relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, Soccernet.ng understands.
Two years later, following an impressive display at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Paris Saint Germain paid an African transfer record fee of £14 million to persuade Fenerbahçe to part with their prized asset.
Okocha believes that if PSG had attempted to buy him now, an attacking midfielder of his caliber would not cost less than 150 million euros, particularly when considering that Chelsea recently paid over £100 million for a defensive midfielder in Enzo Fernández.
What Okocha said
“Maybe a billion should have been paid for me,” Okocha said, according to Hurriyet.
“Chelsea paid £106m for their defensive midfielder (Enzo Fernández). To a player from Portugal. I would have cost around 150 million euros. My assists, dribbles…
“World football started to pay a lot of money. Such would be the numbers for players of my quality.”
However, Okocha enjoyed his time in Turkey and had no intention of leaving the country before France ’98 happened.
Okocha revealed that it was a difficult decision to leave Fenerbahçe, saying, “I left very sadly. I was very happy in Fenerbahçe. Moreover, I married my wife in Turkey. My children were about to be born. When I went to the World Cup, I had no such thing in mind. After the matches in the World Cup, an offer came from PSG.”
Okocha, who played for several top clubs in his career, including Fenerbahçe, PSG, and Bolton Wanderers, was a celebrated midfielder known for his graceful tricks, unforgettable free-kicks, and dazzling dribbling skills.
He is widely recognized as one of the greatest footballers to emerge from Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Recently, Liverpool legend John Barnes admitted that Austin Okocha had more tricks up his sleeves than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.