Liverpool Ladies continued strengthening their squad for the forthcoming season with the prize capture of African Women’s Player of the Year Asisat Oshoala.
And the 20-year-old Nigerian forward reveals the exploits of a certain Uruguayan meant she jumped at the chance of a move to Merseyside.
“In Nigeria, I always dreamed of coming to England to play, and Liverpool are a team I have liked a lot,” says Oshoala.
“I support the men’s team and have followed the results of the women’s team. When I got the deal from them I was very excited.
“I supported Liverpool when I was younger, especially when Luis Suarez was still here. He’s a player I have really admired.”
Oshoala arrives at Liverpool Ladies with a burgeoning reputation having packed much into a still formative career.
She was voted the most valuable player and top scored at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in helping Nigeria finish runners up.
Such success led Oshoala to be named both African Women’s Footballer of the Year and Youth Player of the Year for 2014, and last September she was made a Member of the Order of the Niger by Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria.
Having retained their title in dramatic fashion on the final day last season, Liverpool Ladies are determined to make an impact in the forthcoming Champions League.
And that proved a lure for Oshoala, who will star for her Nigeria in this summer’s World Cup in Canada.
“Moving to Liverpool is the next step for me,” she says. “I am looking forward to the next World Cup, Nigeria haven’t qualified from the group stages in a long time and that would be an aim.
“Individually, I want to be a better player than I was in 2014.
“The dream of every player is to play in the Champions League, both men and women. That’s what makes it even more exciting to be moving to Liverpool – to have that chance.
“This season, I want to make sure I work hard and help us retain the league. It’s going to be tough because there are a lot of good teams out there.”
While a fan of Suarez, Oshoala cites Dutch great Clarence Seedorf as her great inspiration and has even been nicknamed after the former AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder.
“I like him so much,” she says. “I like players who work hard and give everything on the pitch.
“When you see a player like that, he is an inspiration. I love the way Seedorf played, everything about him.
“For the same reason, I admire Luis Suarez. He is ready to give everything and do everything for his club, and I love players like that.
I’d like to think I play like that. In the under-20 World Cup with Nigeria, I showed what I can do if I try my best.”