Ahead of the 2019/2020 season, several European clubs have continued to bolster their squad with new additions. So far, Joao Felix, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann’s move to Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively have been the most notable high profile transfers.
Not left out of the summer transfer are Super Eagles players and hopefuls. Following the not too impressive outing of our senior national team at the last African Nations Cup in Egypt and the retirement of the duo of team captain, John Obi Mikel and top scorer, Jude Odion Ighalo, the Eagles handler may already be on the look out for fresh players to reinvigorate his squad ahead of subsequent tourneys. Some Nigerian players appeared to have read Gernot Rohr’s script by forcing their moves to clubs that they believe could help their national team cause. A number of those players who were hitherto restricted to substitute roles appeared poised for regular football at their new base.
One of such player who have opened a new chapter in his career is former FC Porto midfielder, Mikel Agu who has now teamed up with Vitoria Guimaeres in the Portuguese League. This defensive midfielder needs more game time under his belt if he is to switch his role from a fringe player to a fixture in the senior national team. Mikel, if he could step up to the plate may be a good replacement for the retired Super Eagles skipper.
Also primed for a role in the senior team midfield is Tom Dele-Bashiru who shone brightly recently for the Flying Eagles. After failing to make the grade at Manchester City, the youngster has now joined another Premiership club, Wolverhampton Wanderers where he is expected to hit the ground running in no distant time. If he suceeds in making at least sparing appearances at the EPL club, this season, Bashiru is likely to earn his dream call-up to the Eagles soon.
Like Bashiru, one former England based starlet who has made a right transfer decision is Lookman Ademola who recently joined German club, RB Leipzig from Everton. Lookman, who according to report has indicated his interest to lead the line for Eagles, is expected to improve on his goals return while on loan at the Bundesliga club. One player that would compete with Lookman for lghlao’s shirt in the senior team is Stephen Odey who left Swiss club, FC Zurich for Genk. The stock of the former MFM striker has continued to rise since he moved to Europe and his decision to move to Belgium is expected to sharpen his goal scoring skills. Odey may however struggle to achieve last season’s feat of Victor Osimhen in Belgium. On his part, the former schoolboy international who scored over 20 goals for Charleroi last term will hope to emulate Peter Odemwingie and Vincent Enyeama at his new club, Lille. One player that is already tracing the footorints of Osimhen in Belgium is former Spezia striker, David Okereke who is already sitting atop the top scorers’ log with three goals in two matches.
From the domestic league, the duo of Valentine Ozornwafor and Ikouwem Utin left Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions, Enyimba for Galatasaray and Maccabi Tel Aviv in that order. The transfer of Utin and Ozorneafor is expected to serve as huge boost to our local league players who have overtime restricted theirselves to forcing their move to obscure leagues abroad.
Utin on his part will hope to rival the record set by former Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni at the lsraeli club.
With the 2019 transfer window in some leagues yet to be closed, I expect to see the movement of more Nigerian players.
1. Okechukwu Azubuike – Rizespor to Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkey)
2. Valentine Ozornwafor – Enyimba to Galatasaray (Turkey)
3. Victor Osimhen – Charleroi (Belgium) to Lille (France)
4. Junior Pius – Pacos Ferreira (Portugal) to Royal Antwerp (Belgium)
5. Ola Aina – Chelsea (England) to Torino (Italy)
6. Semy Ajayi – Rotherham to West Bromwich Albion (England)
7. Mikel Agu – Porto to Vitoria Guimaeres (Portugal)
8. David Okereke – Spezia (Italy D2) to Club Brugge (Belgium)
9. Chidera Ejuke – Vaalerenga (Norway) to SC Heerenveen (Netherlands)
10. Ikouwem Utin – Enyimba to Maccabi Haifa (Isreal)
11. Tom Dele Bashiru – Manchester City to Watford (England)
12. Stephen Odey -FC Zurich (Switzerland) to Genk (Belgium)
13. Deji Oshilaja – AFC Wimbledon to Charlton (England)
14. Reuben Yem – Trencin (Slovakia) to Gent (Belgium)
15. Anderson Esiti – Gent to PAOK
16 Aliyu Abubakar – Slutsk (Belarus) to Olympik Donetsk Ukraine
17. Lookman Ademola – Everton (England) to RB Leipzig (Germany)