Nedum Onuoha — the transfer we’ve all been wondering about after rumors surfaced earlier this year — confirmed in a Manchester interview today that he was joining Real Salt Lake.
In an interview with BBC Radio Manchester Sport at Six, Onuoha said he was joining RSL in part because it was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up.
“I just thought maybe this is the moment and the opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t want to retire and think to myself, ‘I wish I would have done this. I wish I would have done that.’ When the opportunity came to go over there, I thought, yeah.”
A partial transcript of Onouha’s comments follows.
Mike Minay: Nedum, we were just talking before the (traffic report), you are going to go to America very soon, Real Salt Lake?
Nedum Onuoha: That’s right, yeah.
Minay: An exciting move for you. The MLS is growing, isn’t it? We’ve seen the likes of Wayne Rooney over there. David Beckham’s helped grow the MLS, now with his new team, of course. An exciting opportunity for you.
Onuoha: Yeah, it definitely is. Coming into the end of the last season at QPR, I was on the verge of having a third child, which I’ve had now. I was thinking I’d want to move back closer to home. But then, when I was looking at who was interested in the state, the position I was in terms of my career, in terms of years left and stuff like this, I was always someone that wanted to go and experience something a bit different. So when I had offers on the table in England, it didn’t quite feel right. For the age that my children were, and with a wife that was very supportive, I thought maybe it was time to go see something totally different.
Minay: Where were the offers coming in from, if you don’t mind me asking? What kind of clubs, levels were you looking at?
Onuoha: So there was obviously Man United, City came in shortly after (he’s clearly joking)
Minay (laughing): I saw you were linked with Sunderland and Hull, though.
Onuoha: The Sunderland one, I never really heard anything about that, apart from people telling me they were interested. I spoke to a few managers quite locally to here — I wouldn’t want to necessarily say anything, I don’t know if it’s all top secret and what have you, but it was all quite close.
Minay: Were they Championship clubs?
Onuoha: They were Championship clubs, yeah. I had a few discussions with maybe one manager in the Premiership, but it didn’t quite feel right. I just thought maybe this is the moment and the opportunity. I didn’t want to retire and think to myself, “I wish I would have done this. I wish I would have done that. When the opportunity came to go over there, I thought, yeah.
Minay: How old are your children, Nedum?
Onuoha: One’s four-and-a-half, one’s 15, 16 months, and the other one’s one month. I’m in that zone now. That intense, intense section of life.
(another radio person): As an opportunity for your kids to grow up in somewhere like Salt Lake City, should be fantastic!
Onuoha: Yeah, pretty incredible. I’ve been over to Salt Lake City. It’s different, but it’s also very grand, and it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful place and the people are really nice. It kind of reminds me of Manchester but with mountains. Eventually, I’ll finish back up north and we’ll be living here, my daughter and my son will be going to school over there. But the funniest thing about it is that my eldest daughter now, she’s got a bit of a Surrey accent, you could say. Worse still, when we come back, she’ll have a Surrey accent mixed with an American one. My other two kids will have American accents as well, but then will be going to school in Manchester, so you could imagine that’s going to be quite tasty for them.