CHERRIES’ man-of-the-moment Benik Afobe insists he has “nothing to prove” to Arsenal – despite believing he would have scored goals for his former club.
The 22-year-old striker continued his blistering start at Cherries by notching a third goal in as many Premier League games to seal Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
Afobe, recruited for a club-record £9million fee from Wolves last month, spent his entire childhood in the Gunners youth ranks and had multiple loan spells without making a senior appearance at the Emirates.
The strike sensation is adamant he wastes no time wondering what might have been but remains steadfast that he could have made an impact for one of English football’s elite clubs.
Afobe is in line to face Arsene Wenger’s men when Cherries host Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (1.30).
Asked if he would have scored goals at Arsenal, Afobe said: “I believe I would have but I am not there anymore. I don’t hold any grudges or think what might have happened, I am in the Premier League and scoring so I am happy.
“I have always been confident and believed in myself. If you don’t as a forward, you’re not going to score goals.
“I have nothing to prove to Arsenal. It was their decision to sell me and I have moved on.
“It was years ago now but I still have some great friends there and nothing bad to say about Arsenal. I would like to have had my chance but that’s not how life works, not everything goes your way.
“I am here in the Premier League now, scoring winners. I am enjoying it and just want to keep improving.”
Afobe’s exploits for Cherries may have made him the centre of attention but the in-form frontman was quick to cite the influence of those around him rather than hog the plaudits.
Asked for the secret behind his flying start, Afobe added: “The boys being good and giving me confidence before I even kicked a ball, self belief and the manager believing in me.
“When you play for a manager that has faith in you, it gives you another 10, 15 per cent. I am just trying to improve, I am only 22 so I am not yet the finished article.
“I am enjoying it and don’t want it to stop but ,for me, the main thing is that we win. It has always been like that, I wouldn’t be any good at boxing, tennis or anything like that, I have always been a team player. If I don’t score and we win, I would take that over a hat-trick and losing 4-3.”
On the reunion with his former club, Afobe admitted “a draw would not be bad against a top team”.
He added: “I was there from the age of six, since I was a baby really, so they played a big part in the way I play football.
“I have a lot to thank them for and I respect them a lot. “But on Sunday, I have a job to do for my club and there will be no friends.”