Erstwhile Asante Kotoko and Ghana defender Shilla illiasu has revealed that veteran football administrator Alhaji Grusah cost him a move to Arsenal in 2006.
Shilla illiasu at the 2006 World Cup in Germany put in an impressive performance, his splendid performance grabbed the attentions of a number of big European clubs. After an impressive trial at Arsenal, a move failed to materialize.
Speaking to Asempa FM, the former King Faisal man revealed that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal wanted to sign him, but the move stalled in the eleventh hour due to Alhaji Grusah’s “stubbornness”.
“Arsene Wenger told me that he had monitored me against Czech Republic (at the World Cup) and believes that I’m one of the best defenders in Africa. He told me he wanted to sign me to Arsenal to help his team”.
“I started training with them and after the third training session, the agent called and confirmed Wenger was impressed and wanted to sign me”.
“Later, the agent called and requested that I speak with Alhaji Grunsah because he was being stubborn.
“And that I should also engage Kotoko, Kwabena Kesse (Kessben) was then the CEO.
“I remember I spoke to him and Mr Kesse told me they were still in talks with Arsenal and assured me my future remained the central focus.”
The move didn’t materialize, Shilla illiasu who had no definite idea back then why the move didn’t materialize eventually joined Russian club FC Saturn that same year.
The center back revealed that he later discovered a letter Alhaji Grusah personally wrote to Arsenal and believes it is what prevented him from joining Arsenal.
“It was later that I realised that Alhaji was the biggest problem. He personally wrote a letter to Arsenal telling them that I was his bonafide property,” he continued.
“So the agent asked what is Alhaji saying. The agent asked me that can’t you talk to Alhaji because he is trying to bring problem.
“Because Alhaji wrote to Arsenal that I was his bonafide property and that time too I was a Kotoko player.
“What I know is that Alhaji had a percentage, my transfer from King Faisal to Kotoko wasn’t an outright deal so Alhaji had a percentage (stake) in me.
“So when the Arsenal deal was to go through, Kotoko was trying to tell Alhaji he was getting close to nothing from the deal and Alhaji also did his things.
“So these are some of the things I feel sad to remember. Its not easy, I remember shedding tears over this in a radio interview sometime back”, he concluded.