Barcelona legend Gerard Pique has launched a charm offensive over Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu in what appears the first act in the Catalan club’s bid to sign the free agent.
31-year Ogu, without a club since the expiration of his deal with Isreali side Hapoel Beer Sheva has been linked with a host clubs in Europe and Asia.
And in what appears a sign of Barcelona’s willingness to steal a march on other suitors and lure Ogu to Spain, Pique, 32, who marked his 500th appearance for the Spanish team in Sunday’s 5-1 demolition of Real Betis, contacted Ogu and in a video chat, showered effusive praise on the midfielder even comparing him to former teammate and four-time African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Toure.
“You’re a great guy, you’re a monster you remind me of Yaya Toure,” Pique said.
Barcelona’s interest in Ogu could be the club attempting to replicate its most successful spell under former manager Pep Guardiola who won the Treble in 2009 with fellow Africans Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure who were both teammates of Pique.
Indeed, Ogu embodies the characteristics of both players as he possesses the poise and left legged efficiency of the former and the latter’s physicality and ability to slot into the defence.
If the transfer is successful, Ogu who was part of Nigeria’s bronze medal winning team at the 2019 AFCON will become the second Nigerian to feature for the Catalan side after former African Player of the Year Emmanuel Amuneke who played for the club between 1996 and 2000.
However, Pique could also have been gauging Ogu’s interest in being the face of the football club he owns through his sports and media investment group Kosmos Holding.
The Spanish ace who owns majority stake in FC Andorra which currently competes in the Primera Catalana – the fifth tier of Spanish football league system and also took over youth team Gimnàstic Manresa in July, could be on the search for a big name to boost the club’s profile and it might be that Ogu fits the bill.