Former Super Eagles captain and coach Sunday Oliseh has said he was denied a move to the English Premier League twice by his former club Ajax.
Oliseh, 46 who retired in 2006, enjoyed a trophy-laden career, winning the Dutch Eredivisie, Bundesliga, as well as the Africa Cup of Nations and an Olympic gold medal, said the Amsterdam giants blocked his move to Manchester United in 1998 and also denied him a chance to join Newcastle United the following season, when Dutch legend Ruud Gullit was in charge of the Magpies.
“I had a chance to join two top teams in the English Premier League in the late 90s but Ajax blocked both moves then. They refused to sell me,” the ex-Juventus midfielder said during an Instagram Live chat with his former teammate Dosu Joseph, which was monitored by SUNDAY PUNCH.
“Unlike now when Ajax sell their best players, back then they were a big football powerhouse in Europe and could decide to hold on to their best players because they were winning titles then as well.
“I was to join United the season Jaap Stam arrived the club from PSV and also Newcastle the following season but Ajax didn’t make that happen.
“But there are no regrets at all. I had a wonderful time at Juventus when I arrived in 1999, winning the Intertoto Cup and finishing runners-up in the UEFA Cup same year.”
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder added that EPL was not as attractive as the German league and the Italian League at the time.
“In the 90s, the dream of every player was to play in La Liga or the Italian league and that was why you saw players from these leagues move to the EPL towards the twilight of their careers.”
Gianluca Vialli, Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola, Carlo Cudicini and Fabrizio Ravanelli were some of the players who moved to the EPL from the Serie A in the late 90s.
“Maybe that was why I didn’t really force the move then.
“Another reason I didn’t go to England was that the league was not the place to be at that time. It was the Italian league and the German league but now it’s the other way. I’m not trying to criticise the league (EPL) I’m just explaining what motivated my move back then.”