Michael Olunga’s lack of game time at Girona was brought about by interference from a top English Premier League side and not the player’s ability, his agent has revealed.
Olunga was on loan at the then Spanish La Liga side in the 2017/18 season from parent club Guizhou Zhicheng of China and only managed six starts in 16 appearances across all competitions. But despite his unquestioned ability, he was unable to add to this tally as insistence from Manchester City to have Nigerian forward Olarenwaju Kayode be considered ahead of Olunga made life difficult for the Kenyan international in Catalonia.
Kayode at the time a City player, was on loan at Girona and the two players fought it out to see who would deputise main striker Christian Stuani.
Speaking to Wakeja Online TV, Olunga’s agent Idriss Isse revealed that the coaches at Girona were convinced of Olunga’s ability but had their hands tied on the matter with the now Spanish Segunda side being half-owned by Pere Guardiola, brother to Man City Manager Pep.
He said, “Olunga always kept on trying but he was not treated fairly although he tried to prove his best by doing everything right. He was training well, sleeping well, eating well.
“In training, everything showed he was capable but he did not get that opportunity as he was the third striker behind Kayode who had been loaned to the club by Manchester City.
“Olunga was the third-choice striker and the second striker was Kayode who had been loaned to the club by Manchester City,” Isse added.
“Manchester City pushed Girona that they must always play Kayode because they bought him with a lot of money but the coach [Pablo Machin] wanted to play Olunga. He had nothing to do because he was controlled on what to do.
“I tried to push for the best for him as I was in regular talk with the scouting chief. I insisted it was unfair to deny Olunga matches when he was proving he was doing everything right in training.”
With the situation too much to bare for both agent and player, Isse revealed that he approached the club’s Director of Football to try and understand what the plan was but it is here that it dawned on him that a move away was the better option for his client.
“I had the meeting with the club’s director and he was straight to the point that they had [Christhian] Stuani who was the team’s top scorer and Kayode who they had to play regularly because of Manchester City’s pressure.
“On his side, Olunga understood and told me to find another team in order to cut frustrations at Girona. It was the toughest day.
“Then we had two or three offers on the table and Olunga was professional enough when we told him of the offers. He was categorical if Girona were not seeing what he can do there we better go to another team.
“I and Olunga were patient and waited for our moment. He is a professional guy,” Isse exhumed.
After leaving Girona, Olunga was sold by Gizhou to Japanese top tier side Kashiwa Reysol in mid-2018 and has excelled in the Far East country where he is one of the best marksman having found the net a total of 35 times in 37 starts for the club across all competitions.