The Community Shield which heralds the beginning of a new season in the Premiership ended on a sad note for Victor Moses despite shooting Chelsea into the lead as Arsenal got a late equaliser and won the match 4-1 on penalties.
Elsewhere, Moses’ former teammate, Dominic Solanke continued to make progress and has earned the trust of his coach who revealed the player will be handed several opportunities in the first team.
In Turkey, Mikel Agu adds to the growing list of Nigerian players to have joined the league in the summer transfer window. In this report, ADEBAYO OLODAN writes on speculations and performances of Super Eagles players and prospects in the European Leagues and other parts of the world.
Community Shield: Moses scores, loses on penalty to Iwobi
Victor Moses gave Chelsea the lead in the Charity Shield, yesterday before Arsenal equalised through Sead Kolasinac. Moses, who operated from the wingback position hit target 49 seconds into the second half of the match.
Alex Iwobi lasted 67 minutes before he was substituted for Theo Walcott as Arsenal went on to win 4-1 on penalties.
Aluko shines for Fulham
Sone Aluko played the full 90 minutes as Fulham drew 1-1 at home with Norwich City in their Championship opener yesterday.
Ugbo makes Barnsley debut
Ike Ugbo, 18, has made his official debut for Barnsley but could not prevent the Reds from losing 3-1 in their opening game of the season against Bristol City on Saturday.
The Chelsea loanee started the game at the Ashton Gate Stadium and was replaced with eleven minutes left on the clock.
Barnsley had a difficult first-half and were three goals down before the intermission.
Ike Ugbo has been loaned out to Barnsley for the 2017-2018 season.
Klopp approves Solanke for first team
Liverpool wonderkid, Dominic Solanke has secured first team football having impressed Jurgen Klopp in their unbeaten pre-season games that ended with 3-1 bashing of Spain’s Athletic Club.
Solanke ended his 13-year association with the Premier League champions, Chelsea this summer because he was not considered for their first team.
”Dom Solanke…I think he’s already shown that he’s ready for some adult football,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official webpage.
The Golden Ball winner of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup netted his third goal in pre-season as Liverpool beat Athletic Club 3-1 in Dublin on Saturday.
Solanke has represented England at all youth team levels.He is however also eligible to represent Nigeria through his descent.
In May 2014, Solanke was part of the England squad that won the 2014 UEFA European U-17 Championship. He was the tournament’s joint top scorer with four goals in four appearances, a brace against Turkey, a goal in the semi-final secured a place in the final, and England’s goal in the final.
Musa’s proposed loan move to Hull gathers pace
The arrival of Kelechi Iheanacho at Leicester City has increases the speculation linking fellow Nigerian forward, Ahmed Musa with a move to Hull City on loan.
Musa was sparingly used by Coach Craig Shakespeare who took over from Claudio Ranieri last season, and the arrival of Iheanacho means the manager now has more options in the role where Musa plays.
Linked with a move to West Brom and Premier League new boys, Brighton, Hull City has emerged as the book makers favourite to land the 24- year-old on loan.
The odds of Musa joining the Championship side has increased dramatically, with the forward also keen on a move to reunite with the man who signed him from VVV Venlo to CSKA Moscow of Russia.
Leonid Slutsky, the new coach of Hull City is a big fan of the forward and he is using his close ties with Musa and his agent to lure him to the Tigers, where soon to be Nigeria senior international Ola Aina is currently on loan from Chelsea.
Arsenal loans out Nwakali to VVV Venlo
Kelechi Nwakali has been loaned out for the new season to Dutch top division club VVV Venlo.
“He will play at VVV Venlo in the new season, that’s the decision of Arsenal,” president of the player’s Nigerian academy Emeka Amajiriaku disclosed.
VVV was only recently promoted back to the Dutch top league after several years in the lower rungs.
Top Nigerian stars Tijjani Babangida and Ahmed Musa went on to greater things when they started out at modest VVV.
Last season, Nwakali, 18, was on loan at another Dutch club MVV Maastricht, who reached the promotion playoffs.
Aston Villa signs Spurs’ Ononah
Aston Villa has added want away Tottenham midfielder, Josh Onomah to their ranks as they get set to fight for a promotion ticket back to the Premier League this season.
The Vallians announced the signing of Onomah on a season-long loan from Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
Onomah who has a Nigerian father was born and raised in Enfield where he progressed through the age groups in the Tottenham Academy.
He made his Spurs debut aged 17 and played 32 times for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“I can’t wait to get started. I know that promotion is the aim and I am here to help us achieve that,” Onomah, who had three years left on his previous Spurs contract, said.
He made 12 senior appearances for Spurs in 2016-17, including a Champions League debut off the bench at Bayer Leverkusen.
West Ham signs promising defender, Akinola
Olatunji Akinola a Nigerian-born defender has put pen to paper for West Ham United’s on a first professional contract. The 17-year-old is believed to be one of the club and England’s most exciting young talents, who is yet another promising product of the Hammers’ prestigious academy.
Commenting on the development, Akinola stated that becoming a West ham United player is a big honour. “It’s a great feeling for me and my family, a very proud day,” he said.
“It feels great that the club have shown faith in me to give me another three years to help develop myself as a footballer.
“I’ve been here since I was eight so it’s been nine years of hard work. But I’m playing football for a top Premier League academy so I’m definitely enjoying it as well.
“I have known for a while now but my instant reaction was pleasantly surprised. It’s a big thing as all my family are football fans as well, so we were all celebrating when we found out.
“I feel this has been a strong season for me particularly. I have put in some solid performances in the U-18’s and worked to get some opportunities in the U21s, which I just want to carry on next season.
“Ending the season with some successful tours is also nice; getting to the final in Zurich and Holland. Making my first team debut at the new stadium would be a beautiful moment and nice reward for the work I have put in.”
Bazee set for operation
Hannover 96 has announced that Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee will go under the knife for his injured thigh.
The promising striker has suffered a tendon rupture in the rear left thigh according to Hannover’s official website.
A club statement read: “Bitter diagnosis for Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee: The 20-year-old, who had to be replaced yesterday after an offensive in the test match against the 1. FC Germania Egestorf / Langreder, has suffered a tendon rupture in the rear left thigh.
“This was the result of today’s investigations with our team doctors, Dr. Axel Partenheimer and Dr. Felix Hessel. Bazee will go around for an operation and the injury is to be treated conservatively. We wish Noah fast recovery and good recovery.”
As a result, Bazee could miss Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon which will take place in September 2017.
Bursaspor to present Mikel, today after Porto agreement
Turkish Super Lig side Bursaspor, has agreed a loan deal with Portuguese side FC Porto for their 24- year-old midfielder, Mikel Agu.
The hard working defensive midfielder will spend a season on loan with the Turkish side, with Porto giving them the option to buy him permanently next summer for a fee in excess of €5m.
Mikel will arrive Turkey before his presentation today (Monday) by the team that once had Taiye Taiwo on their books, and presently have William Troost-Ekong and little known Sean Okoli in the first team.
Last season Mikel’s fine performances for Victoria Setubal where he spent the season on loan earned him a fresh deal with the Porto but he failed to convince new coach Sergio de Conceiacao during pre-season games.
The one cap Super Eagles player sat out the last two test games of the Portuguese giants, with the coach leaving him out after talks started over his transfer from the team.
Agbo celebrates first win with Liege
Uche Agbo has said he hopes to lead Standard Liege to finish in the top-four in Belgium this season and return to La Liga after his new club recorded their first win of the season.
Standard Liege beat Genk 2-1 on Friday with Agbo on for the first 46 minutes before he was replaced.
“I have a personal target for Standard to finish in the top four of the Belgian league and if possible move back to the Spanish league or to the Premier League in England,” the former Granada CF star said.
“I am gradually settling down here in Belgium as a professional. I just have to do because this is my job, and mobility of labour is part of the job of a professional player which I am not an exemption.”
Uche Agbo dedicated the win to his younger brother, who he rates as a better player than he.
“For my first win in Belgian league, I dedicated the victory to my younger brother, who is great player who people need to watch out for. He plays in the same position like me,” he said.
Lillestrom has completed the signing of Akwa United striker, Moses Ebiye on a four-year deal.
The 20-year-old had joined the Norwegian outfit having impressed during his trails at the Arasen Stadium. Ebiye is the latest signing for manager Arne Erlandsen as he looks to bolster his squad ahead of the new season after finishing 12th in the Tippeligaen last term.
Orebro thrilled with Boye’s signing
Swedish top league side Orebro SK has said they are excited to have signed Isaac Boye on a four-year contract after he impressed on trials there.
OSK announced the arrival of the 20-year-old Boye from Academy for Stars in Nigeria on their website.
Coach Alexander Axen praised the qualities of the youngster.
“He has all the qualities that a good forward should have,” he remarked.
“He is strong and fast.”
“He has a presence and we think this is a very good investment for OSK,” added sports director Magnus Skoldmark.
Ekwueme returns to training
Former youth international, Paschal Ekwueme has returned to Pelikan Lowics training after suffering from arm pain.
Lowics received a boost as the winger participated in teamwork at the weekend.
Ekwueme who was among the players shining with the French coach Paul Le Guen was pictured training with his team mates.
Ex-Bayern striker, Emerum joins FK Radnicki
Serbian club, FK Radnicki Pirot has pulled off a transfer coup by signing highly-rated striker, Emeka Emerum.
The 22-year-old penned a one-year deal with Radnicki Pirot, who will play in the Serbian Prva Liga in the new season.
Emerum is a product of Taye Academy Owerri, which produced the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidiebere Nwakali and Kelechi Nwakali.
He also spent his formative years as a footballer with the youth teams of Bayern Munich and Vejle Academy, followed by spells at CA Bizertin, Esperance, Olympique de Béja and FK Sloboda Užice.
Emerum’s playing style has drawn comparisons to retired Nigeria international Victor Ikpeba.
Ubong Ekpai has said he hopes to do more after he bagged the Man of the Match Award on the back of firing the match winner for Czech club Zlin.
The former Kano Pillars and Akwa united forward grabbed the match winner on 73 minutes against Zbrojova Brno before his club’s home fans.
“No doubt I had a great season last year in this league and now I want to do more to surpass the achievements of last season with my new club,” an elated Ekpai said.
“I came here to play in the Europa League, like I did last season when I played in the competition for FC Slovan.
“Now I am with Fastav Zlin and I also wish to play feature in the Europa League to make a statement for myself.”
The former U-23 international also lamented his new team’s opening day loss to his former club Slovan Liberec.
“We lost the first match of the season to my former club due to a loss of concentration in that match and one of our player was red carded and that numerical disadvantage was our greatest undoing,” he recounted.
Barca reject Mohammed now looks to Russia
After being rejected by Barcelona B team, Rio Olympics midfielder Usman Mohammed is now hoping he could take his game to Russia.
Top agent Dimitri Sulek, who is best known as representative of Manchester City star Yaya Toure, will now be the ticket to move the former FC Taraba skipper to Europe after two failed moves.
Dimitri, as he is simply known, has over the years worked with several Nigerian stars including Dele Adeleye, Yakubu Alfa and Emmanuel Okoduwa.
Former Nigeria international Haruna Babangida, who now runs an academy in Kaduna, had hoped his strong links at former club Barcelona would give Usman a chance with the second team of the Catalan giants.
Usman is now training in Kaduna after several weeks training with the Barca reserves.
Ohawuchi joins Al-Qadisiyah
Stanley Ohawuchi has left Wadi Degla and signed for Saudi side Al-Qadisiyah, the striker confirmed on his Twitter handle at the weekend.
Writing on his @StanleyOhawuchi handle, the 27-year-old confirmed he’d put pen to paper on a deal with the Saudi Pro League outfit, having come to the end of a loan stay with SC Zamalek.
Ohawuchi moved to Zamalek on a season-loan loan from Wadi Degla in August 2016, having enjoyed two prolific years in the Egyptian top flight.
He has netted three goals for the White Knights in the CAF Champions League this season – making him the Cairene giants’ top scorer in the tournament – and has scored a further six goals in other competitions.
The forward represented Nigeria at U-20 level, and has previously featured for Atletico Baleares and Sliema Wanderers of Malta, having begun his career with Bayelsa United and Heartland in Nigeria.
Ohawuchi won the Egyptian Cup in 2016 and the Egyptian Super Cup earlier this year, and will be charged with helping Qadisiyah improve on their 10th place league finish last season.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Victor Moses has scored his first goal in 27 games for Chelsea in all competitions, since netting against Spurs in November 2016.
- Arsene Wenger has won more games in charge of Arsenal at Wembley Stadium (13) than any other ground.
- The previous season’s FA Cup winners have gone on to win the Community Shield in each of the last four campaigns.
- Since the start of last season, no player has provided more Championship assists from open play than Wes Hoolahan.
- The last team to score eight goals in their first game of the season in the top four tiers of English football were Wolves in 1962.
- Billy Sharp has scored 31 league goals since the start of last season; more than any other player in the Football League.
- Adam Lallana was directly involved in 15 Premier League goals last season (8 goals, 7 assists); his best return at Liverpool.
- Patrick Vieira is the only player in Premier League history to be sent off in seven consecutive seasons.
- Hajduk Split has lost on six of their seven visits to England in European competition (D1).\