…Lookman scores hat-trick for Everton
With the 2018 World Cup in Russia reaching a climax yesterday as France defeated surprise package, Croatia 4-2 in the final, there was however a tinge of hope for the Super Eagles as goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and Oghenekaro Etebo were named among the best U-23 squad for the tournament.
Elsewhere, former schoolboy international, Chidiebere Nwakali is attracting interest from no fewer than five European clubs and looks set for a move away from Premier League champions, Manchester City as his contract enters the final year.
For another youngster, Lookman Ademola, who is yet to commit his international future to Nigeria, he seemed to be in imperious form ahead of the 2018/19 season following his hat-trick in Everton’s bizarre 22-0 win against a lowly rated club in a friendly match.
The News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN reports the transfer speculations involving Nigerian players and the performances of others in less fancied leagues abroad.
5 Clubs keen on Man City’s Nwakali
UAE 2013 U-17 World Cup winner, Chidiebere Nwakali (21) is reportedly attracting interest from five different clubs for a possible summer transfer deal following his decision to quit Manchester City.
Among the clubs interested in the player is NAC Breda (Holland), KAA Gent (Belgium) and two unnamed Turkish clubs.
The former schoolboy international who played on loan at Scottish club, Aberdeen last season is determined to finally end his frosty relations with The Citizens who never gave him a chance in their senior squad since joining them in 2015.
Nwakali has entered the last 12 months of his contract with the Premier League Champions and wants to leave the club on a permanent deal.
Since he officially became a player of Manchester City, the older Nwakali has been loaned out to Malaga, Girona, IK Start, Sogndal and Aberdeen due to work permit issues in England.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland U-16 international, Festy Ebosele has joined Derby County’s Academy ahead of the 2018-2019 season. He last played for Bray Wanderers.
Shoretire named in Man Utd squad for Super Cup
Manchester United has announced their roster for the prestigious 2018 Super Cup NI, with talented Nigerian winger cum striker, Shola Shoretire making the cut.
This is the second successive year that Shoretire will travel with the Red Devils squad to Northern Ireland for the competition.
Shoretire stood out a mile at the 2017 SuperCupNI with some dazzling displays, especially against County Fermanagh, while Mipo Odubeko finished as Manchester United’s top scorer with three goals.
He has returned to the United Kingdom after traveling with Man Utd U-18s and U-23s to Austria for a training camp ahead of the new season.
Leicester to offer contract extension to Ndidi
Leicester City is poised to offer a contract extension to Wilfred Ndidi amidst transfer speculations regarding the player, according to reports from Telegraph.
The midfielder has been linked with a move out of King Power Stadium with Arsenal and Liverpool vying for his services.
However, Ndidi has insisted that he’s happy to stay with his current club and has never thought about leaving.
This has led Leicester City to prepare a contract extension for the former Genk starlet as they look to bind him to a long-term deal.
Asoro completes Swansea move
EFL Championship club, Swansea City has acquired the services of young Nigerian striker, Joel Asoro on a four-year deal.
Sunderland wrote on their official website on Saturday, wishing the youngster best of luck as he moves onto another stage of his young career, having entered the final twelve months of his contract with the Black Cats this summer.
Asoro, 19, joined Sunderland from Swedish club, IF Brommapojkarna and established himself with their first team from the youth ranks irrespective of his tender years.
He became the youngest player of Nigerian descent to play in the English Premier League when he came on in the 81st minute of Sunderland’s 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough on August 21 in 2016.
Last season, Asoro found the net three times in 26 Championship appearances while providing two assists.
Everton starlet, Ademola scores hat-trick in bizarre win
Young striker, Ademola Lookman scored a hat-trick as Everton defeated ATV Irdning 22-0 in Austria on Saturday.
Everton has turned down bids for Lookman from German club, RB Leipzig, a club where he spend the second half of last season and West Ham Utd.
The Toffees are said to be looking in the region of 20 million pounds as against the 14million and 15million pounds offered by RB Leipzig and West Ham Utd respectively.
Gerrard: Sadiq has huge potential
Glascow Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has hailed new signing Sadiq Umar saying the former U-23 forward is a player with huge potential
The ex-Liverpool legend was speaking to Rangers TV about his two new signings, striker Sadiq and midfielder Coulibaly this week put pen-to-paper on season-long loan deals, with the manager believing both will add plenty of new attributes to his team.
Sadiq, who arrives from AS Roma, Gerrard explained: “First and foremost he’s a talent and I think he is a player with huge potential.
“He is looking for the next stage to take his career to the next level now.” Gerrard said
“I think he has done fantastically well in Holland and he is one of many boys that are at football clubs around the world and they find it very hard for that breakthrough.”
“Instead of staying at that club and suffering and not playing games, I think the likes of Rangers can go and grab these boys and give them the stage and platform to perform on.”
Celtic signs Okoflex from Arsenal
One of Arsenal’s most promising starlets to emerge from the Hale End Academy, Armstrong Okoflex has been snapped up by Scottish topflight giants, Celtic.
Okoflex, 16, reportedly turned down a scholarship contract offered to him by the Gunners to sign for the Glasgow club, and will likely play in the club’s development team for next season while eyeing up a very likely crack at first team action.
Described as a player with real quality and dazzling skills, the highly rated youngster has represented Ireland and England at youth levels while remaining eligible to represent Nigeria.
Okoflex played seven games for Arsenal U18s at the tail end of last season, scoring a goal in the 5-1 thrashing of West Ham on January, 30th.
Born in Dublin, he previously had trials with both West Ham and Spurs before opting to move to Arsenal five years ago.
Kingsley excited to feature in Bologna pre-season
Kingsley ‘Kaka’ Michael has said he is excited to be part of the pre-season training of Bologna and has been handed jersey No 14 by the Serie A club.
The former U-17 and U-20 midfielder has been part of the first-team squad preparations for the 2018/2019 season after he impressed with the youth team last season.
“Last season I played over 20 games for the Bologna youth team and I am glad the coaches deemed my performances worthy to get me a shot during the pre-season with the first team,” said the 18-year-old Michael.
“I am very happy but it’s still work in progress because this is only pre-season, not main league, but I will keep pushing to have a chance to play league matches.”
Uzoho, Etebo make World Cup best U-23 team
Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper at the 2018 World Cup, Francis Uzoho may have been in action for only three matches at the tournament but his promising performances against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina have continued to reverberate.
The sports section of British tabloid Guardian has published a team of eleven players and their substitutes they considered as the best ‘starting’ eleven of Russia 2018.
Nigeria shot stopper Uzoho who plays for the youth side of Deportivo La Coruna made the cut while new Stoke City midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo was named in the substitutes’ list.
The Guardian wrote of the impact of Uzoho:
“As one of only two goalkeepers under the age of 23 to have featured, the other being Tunisia’s Mouez Hassen, the teenager makes the cut almost by default but will still be relatively satisfied with his first major tournament despite Nigeria’s group-stage exit.
“Uzoho was largely helpless to prevent any of the four goals he conceded in the defeats by Croatia and Argentina and will surely improve with age.
“The next step for him is to gain first-team experience at Deportivo La Coruña, having spent the majority of last season in the reserves”.
France’s Benjamin Pavard, Colombia’s Yerry Mina and Uruguay’s Jose Maria Gimenez are the three established defenders named to play in front of Uzoho in a preferred 3-4-3 formation.
Meanwhile, Etebo who made the Guardian’s Substitutes of the U-23s is set to join his English Championship side for their pre season trip ahead of the 2018/2019 season.
Idowu upbeat on Super Eagles future
Locomotiv Moscow new signing, Bryan Idowu has said he will fight to keep his place in the Super Eagles first team after did so at the World Cup in Russia.
“My agent told me the Nigeria jersey represents everything in my career, and his thoughts have come true. And now, I am looking forward to fight and give back to the team,” St. Petersburg-born Bryan declared.
“Nigeria is my root, I have been there before my invitation (to the national team), but I think destiny has turned me to a star in the colours of the national team.
“It was a dream come true playing for Nigeria at the World Cup. Every player has a dream, no matter the level of football you play, no matter the club you are playing for; there must be a dream to pursue.
“When you see players like Iwobi, Leon Balogun, Ebuehi and others, you will be thrilled to play for Nigeria.
“Before my invitation, I always dreamt of playing for the team, this is a country with lots of footballing history and stars across the globe.
“My agent used to tell me things about this team and I have finally experienced that with the team.
“It’s great to align my career with such team for the future.”
Sanusi joins Grenoble
Belgian-Nigerian midfielder, Ryan Sanusi has left demoted Dutch club, Sparta Rotterdam and has joined Ligue 2 team Grenoble on a two-year deal. The defensive midfielder arrived in the Netherlands in 2011.
Meanwhile, Dutch youth international Niyi Scholten completed an under the radar transfer from Ajax Amsterdam to Vitesse. The wing-back previously wore the jerseys of the youth teams of SV CUPA and FC Twente.
Osawe inks Ingolstadt deal
Benin City-born striker, Osayamen Osawe has ended his two-year association with FC Kaiserslautern after penning a two-year contract with 2. Bundesliga side FC Ingolstadt 04. He previously played for the youth teams of Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers in England.
In a related development, Aloy Ihenacho has joined lower league club, Eintracht Hohkeppel as a free agent following his release by Rot-Weiß Oberhausen.
Chukwuka, Ebuka, Onyeaghala for trials
Turkish Super Lig clubs, Trabzonspor and Kayserispor have handed trial to three teenagers with a view to a transfer before the close of the summer transfer window.
It is confirmed that Victor Chukwuka, Ebuka Michael and Chukwuebuka Onyeaghala have been issued visas and have departed to Turkey from Lagos at the weekend.
Chukwuka is a striker, Michael is a defensive midfielder and Onyeaghala plays at right fullback; the trio were invited for tests in Turkey after extensive scouting by a representative of the two clubs.
The three players are owned by Lagos-based amateur club Sido FC but have been loaned out to Stationery Stores FC for the whole of this season.
The three 18-year-olds will be hoping to impress the management of Trabzonspor and Kayserispor during the trials which will last for three weeks.
Onyekuru to earn $100k per month at Galatasaray
Henry Onyekuru will earn $100,000 a month (about N36 million) at Galatasaray after tax and another $10,000 for a win in the Turkish league.
Turkish champions Galatasaray announced on their official website the full breakdown of the loan deal with Everton for the Nigeria star because they are quoted on their country’s stock market.
According to Gala, Onyekuru will be paid $1.2 million net for the year-long deal.
He will receive an additional $10,000 bonus for a league win, while he gets 5,000 Euros for a victory in a UEFA competition game.
Everton will receive 800,000 Euros after tax as loan fee.
Ideye considers summer offer
Tianjin Teda of China striker, Brown Ideye has become the latest Nigerian player to receive an offer from Turkey in the summer transfer window, but may have to settle for another loan spell instead.
Though Ideye was yet to regain trust at Teda, who loaned him to Malaga of Spain last season, after he fell out with the Chinese Super League club’s coach and top shots, Teda insisted they would not sell him for cheap. This was a revival of a hint that first emerged for Ideye in August, when hints surfaced that Teda was ready to ship him out to Turkey to make way for other plans in its squad.
That came after Ideye was taken off the first team squad of the club on the final day of the Chinese transfer window, and he was demoted to the team’s reserves.
Ebuehi joins Benfica for pre-season
Tyronne Ebuehi has joined his teammates at Benfica as they resume their pre-season ahead of the 2018/19 season.
The Super Eagles wingback was snapped up by the Portuguese giants, but could not join them immediately due to his involvement at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
It is reported that Ebuehi has joined Benfica’s pre-season training following his move from ADO Den Haag at the end of last month.
Having agreed on a five-year deal with the Eagles, he could not team up with the side immediately due to his involvement with the Super Eagles at the global showpiece in Russia.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old was a consistent figure for the Storks last season as he made 28 league appearances as they finished in seventh spot.
The youngster had his first training with the rest of Rui Vitoria’s men ahead of their friendly encounter with Vitoria Setubal on Friday evening.
Visa hitch delays transfer of free agent, Ezekiel
A delay in the issuance of an entry visa has delayed the transfer of Imoh Ezekiel.
Ezekiel has been linked with a return to Belgium, where KV Kortjik are believed to be interested in signing the Nigeria Olympic international.
Ezekiel is now a free agent after he was released by Spanish club UD Las Palmas before the end of a contract that would have ended next summer.
The striker has previously featured for Anderlecht and Standard Liege also in Belgium. He also played in Qatar and Turkey.
Akpala rejects KV Kortjik offer
Free agent, Joseph Akpala will no longer join up with KV Kortjik after he rejected an offer from the Belgian club.
Akpala, who has won caps with the Super Eagles, is a free agent after KV Oostende did not extend his contract when it ran out this summer.
The experienced striker has featured for Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga and has also played for several Belgian clubs including Club Brugge.
In January, he was linked with a move to Cercle Brugge, who have won promotion back to the Belgian top flight after many seasons in the lower league.
Olympiacos terminates Emenike’s contract
Greek champions, Olympiacos has terminated the contract of Emmanuel Emenike, according to media reports.
According to Greek website gunes.com, Olympiacos terminated the contract of the forward which was to run till 2019 after his arrival from Fenerbahce last season.
The website reported that the former Nigeria international wanted a contract extension with more pay, while the club decided to cut ties with the striker after they triggered off a clause in his contract.
The 31-year-old joined Las Palmas from Olympiacos in January with high hopes, but it all ended with him not playing an official game for the Spanish club due to injury.
Emenike also angered Olympiacos and their fans when he alleged he has received death threats in Greece.
Emenike, who started all four of the Super Eagles matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, quit international football in October 2015.
His move to Spain meant the much-traveled and vastly experienced Emenike had joined his seventh professional club in seven years after stints in Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, England and Greece.
He came to limelight at Turkish club Karabukspor, where he scored 30 goals in 52 appearances, before joining Fenerbahce in 2011.
Chima Akas (Kalmar FF): The former Enyimba left back was substituted in the 46th min of his team’s 0-1 loss to Djurgaarden.
Daniel Anyembe (Esbjerg fB): He lasted the entirety of his team’s 1-1 draw at Nordsjaelland.
Emmanuel Ogude (Vendsyssel FF): He played the last eight minutes of his club’s 3-2 win over
I want to play for Arsenal one day – Onuachu
Paul Onuachu admits he would like to play for Arsenal one day as the striker eyes up a move this summer.
Onuachu plays for FC Midtjylland after signing for the Danish side in 2012. You might remember him from their Europa League game against Manchester United in February 2016 when the Danes won 2-1 and Onuachu got on the score sheet from outside the box.
Onuachu is presently linked with a move to Genk in Belgium after his club signed another attacker in Mayron George, also 24 but from Costa Rica.
When asked what club he would like to play for, his answer was clear.
“Arsenal. The way they play is just the kind of football I like to see – and so I would like to play for Arsenal at one point.
“When I was on a weekend trip to London some years ago with the FCM squad, we were out to see Arsenal. It was an experience. The Premier League is great and Arsenal is a giant club with a nice history.
“Arsenal hardly comes after me now but I’m only 24 years old, and maybe I go to another club before the dream might come true. I think I will be able to commit myself to most leagues in Europe, and I feel in good shape and 100 percent ready.”
The player has made 145 appearances for FC Midtjylland scoring 52 goals and creating 17 assists. He has two years left on his current contract.
Etor renews contract with Al-Nasr
Former U-23 winger, Daniel Etor has renewed his contract with Omani club Al-Nasr SC despite opportunities to quit as a free agent.
Speaking on why he extended his stay with the club, Etor said, “I decided to renew my contract with my club for continuity sake amidst several offers I had from Oman, Qatar and the MLS, especially since the club’s management appreciated my contribution and offered me a better deal.”
The 2017/2018 Oman Premier League Season Best Foreign player has thus finally put to bed rumours about his future by committing to a new improved contract.
Etor went further to express his excitement at the opportunity to showcase himself on a bigger platform, which the Asia Championship would present in the coming season, and he hopes to use the opportunity to show Asia and the world what he has.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Didier Deshamps is the third person to win the World Cup as a player and manager after Mario Zagallo (Brazil) and Franz Beckenbauer (Germany).
- With 6 goals, Harry kane has become only the second English player to ever win the World Cup Golden Boot after Gary Lineker in 1986.
- France striker, Oliver Giroud didn’t attempt a single shot on target in 546 mins at the 2018 World Cup.
- Mario Mandzukic (Croatia) is the second player in World Cup history to score a goal for his side and an own goal in a single game, after Ernie Brandts for the Netherlands vs Italy in 1978. Mandzukic is also the 5th player to score in both World Cup and European Cup/Champions League finals, after Ferenc Puskas, Zoltan Czibor, Gerd Muller and Zinedine Zidane.
- Paul Pogba is the first Premier League player to score in a World Cup final since Emmanuel Petit (1998). Pogba is also the first Man Utd player to score in a World Cup final.
- There were 12 own goals scored at the 2018 World Cup, double the tally of the previous highest in a World Cup tournament; six in 1998.
- Eden Hazard has been directly involved in seven goals at the 2018 World Cup (three goals, four assists); the joint-most of any Belgium player since 1966 (Jan Ceulemans also with seven).
- France has never lost a game with N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba both in the starting XI (18 games: W15 D4 L0).
- Only six players created more chances than Xherdan Shaqiri in the Premier League last season, while the Swiss created 15 more than any Liverpool player (Mo Salah, 62).
- At 19y 207days, Kylian Mbappé is the youngest Frenchman and third youngest player overall to appear in a World Cup final, after Pelé in 1958 (17y 249d) and Giuseppe Bergomi in 1982 (18y 201d).
- France defender, Raphaël Varane is the fifth Frenchman to play in both the Champions League and World Cup finals in the same year, after Thierry Henry (2006), Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps and Christian Karembeu (all 1998). 11 – Antoine Griezmann has scored or assisted 11 goals in nine knockout games at major tournaments (World Cup & Euro); more than any other player for France over the last 50 years, ahead of Zinedine Zidane (8) and Michel Platini (6).
- Ivan Perisic has been involved in 11 goals at major tournaments for Croatia (7 goals, 4 assists), the highest closely followed by Davor Suker with 9 goals and 1 assist.