Former defender Taribo West has told Score Nigeria how he was driven out of Milan by the mafia and had offers from Liverpool before joining Derby County.
Back in 1999, the former Nigeria international traded Inter Milan for city rivals AC Milan.
The transfer seemingly had bad consequences for West. He made just four appearances for the Rossoneri, before making an astonishing loan move to Derby County.
West claims he had offers to join Liverpool before ending up at Pride Park in November 2000.
The Mafia would do anything in their powers to make sure I was done away with at Milan. They cooked a vicious story in the press that I was injured in the desperate bid to send me out of Milan. The doctors were bribed to say I was injured, but it was a lie. They did that because they felt it was unthinkable for a African player to take the place of those three aging defenders. Liverpool came with an offer, but at the end of the day, I had to settle for Derby County.
Taribo West joins during Derby County’s golden Premier League era:
West joined a Derby team who were established in the Premier League under Jim Smith.
It wasn’t uncommon for the Rams to pick up an international star at the time. Players like Stefano Eranio, Igor Stimac, Francisco Baiano, Paolo Wanchope and Aljosa Asanovic had donned the Derby shirt in what now can be looked at as a golden era for the now Championship club.
West went on to make 14 Premier League appearances for Derby in the 2000-01 campaign. He was an influential figure, helping the side pick up 31 points from a possible 42.
But after helping Derby preserve their top-flight status, he returned to Milan before going on to sign for FC Kaiserslautern in the German Bundesliga.
From Liverpool’s perspective, it was probably for the best as the central defender struggled from then on. Spells at Partizan, Al-Arabi and bizarrely Plymouth Argyle followed.
Still, West was a legendary player from the 90s. The Nigerian donned bizarre hairstyles, and he represented Nigeria over 40 times while winning the UEFA Cup with Inter.