By Toyin Saheed
With the year 2017 coming to an end, we take a look at the five Nigerian Footballers who made wrong transfer moves during the year.
Brown Ideye (Olympiakos to Tianjin TEDA for £10.8m): After a miserable spell with West Bromwich Albion F.C. Albion in the English Premier League, Brown Ideye rediscovered his goal scoring form playing for Olympiakos when he joined the Greek champions in the summer of 2016. He scored 10 league goals to help Olympiakos win the Greek title for the 43rd time in their 91-year history. During his short stint with the club, he scored 28 goals and provided ten assists in 65 appearances. But surprisingly, he opted to join Tianjin TEDA during the January 2017 transfer window. After failing to hit the height expected, Ideye soon fell out with the club’s manager and was demoted to the second team afterwards. He scored four goals in his first 14 games. The move also jeopardized his chances of keeping his place in the Super Eagles squad.
Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce to Olympiakos £3m): Having played on loan at Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates and West Ham United, Emenike ended his four year stint with Fenerbahce and joined Olympiakos on a two year deal with an option of another year. He was expected replace his compatriot Brown Ideye who moved to Tianjin TEDA, but he never flourished. Emenike has not made Olympiakos’ matchday squad for the last eight weeks and has missed his team’s last 18 games though he has scored four goals in ten games for the Greek Champions.
Imoh Ezekiel (Al Arabi to Konyaspor £3m): Despite sealing a big-money move to Qatar in 2014, petit forward Imoh Ezekiel wasn’t really a big success for Al Arabi during his time there in the UAE. He returned to Belgium for loan spells with former club Standard Liege and giants Anderlecht after his first six months at Al Arabi.
On his return, he scored 11 goals in 33 appearances during the 18 months he spent at Al Arabi. Ezekiel opted to join Turkish side Konyaspor with one year left on his deal at Al Arabi in a bid to rediscover his scoring form, but alas, in 13 appearances (10 as substitutes) in the Turkish Super Lig, the one cap Nigeria international never found the back of the net before terminating his contract in December.
Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City to Leicester City, £25m): Kelechi Iheanacho is yet to live up to his £25m price tag at Leicester City. He has just scored once since arriving from Manchester City in the summer. Iheanacho’s poor form has seen him drop to third in Claude Puel’s striking pecking order behind Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. Many had expected the Nigeria international to walk straight into the Foxes’ starting lineup, but that has not been the case. Iheanacho’s goal scoring record in the English Premier League has also reduced. At Leicester City, he has one goal in 393 minutes which is some way shy of his Manchester City average of one goal every 100 minutes. He appears to be declining.
Olanrewaju Kayode, Austria Wein to Manchester City – £4m (Loanee at Girona): Olanrewaju Kayode was a very popular figure during his time with Austria Wein. The striker turned out to be a good buy for the club in 2014 when he signed from Maccabi Netanya and he had an immediate impact scoring 13 times in 34 appearances in his first season.
Olanrewaju continued his impressive run of form in the 2015/16 season surpassing his goal scoring feat and emerged the top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga with 17 goals in 33 games. But in the summer of 2017, Olanrewaju joined Manchester City for £4m and was shipped out on loan to newly promoted Girona in the Spanish La Liga Santander where he has failed to sparkle. The current season hasn’t gone too good for Olanrewaju after he failed to score in 12 La Liga games and (13 in all competitions).