Former Ghana defender Shila Illiasu Alhassan has revealed that Alhaji Karim Grusah is the reason behind his failed move to English giants Arsenal.
Illiasu had a good FIFA World Cup in 2006 prompting suitors all over Europe including the Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who was particularly impressed by the towering defender’s performance against the Czech Republic. A game Ghana won 2-0.
The former Asante Kotoko and King Faisal player was then invited for trials at Arsenal but negotiations stalled in the eleventh hour due to Alhaji Grusah’s reluctance to release the player.
“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,” Shila Illiasu told AAsempa FM.
“I started training with them and after the third training session, the agent called and confirmed Wenger was impressed and wanted to sign me,” he added.
“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.”
Illiasu later joined Russian outfit Saturn FC but the defender later discovered a letter from the owner of King Faisal, Alhaji Grusah stalled his dream move to England.
“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.