Few days after the Super Eagles secured another bronze medal at the 2019 African Nations Cup, Nigerian players who missed out of the party in Egypt continued turning out for their respective clubs in Europe and Asia.
At the weekend, no fewer than six Super Eagles hopefuls were on song in pre-season friendlies and less fancied leagues abroad. Top on the list of those players who had their names registered on the score sheet is Anthony Ujah who scored again for his new German club, Union Berlin. Also on target is QPR new boy, Luke Amos, Blessing Eleke (Luzern), Daniel Chima and former U-17 star, Yusuf Otubajo.
The News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN yet again reports the performances of our players especially in pre-season international friendly matches and transfer guesswork.
Semi Ajayi excited after completing Baggies move
Super Eagles versatile defender, Simi Ajayi has expressed his delight after completing a transfer to Championship side West Bromich Albion having ended a two-year stint with League One side Rotherham United.
The 25-year-old, who caught the eye of the Baggies last season following an impressive form both as a defender and a midfielder, netting eight goals in all competitions, will now take the number 6 jersey ahead of the new season.
“It’s a great opportunity for me. I want to play at the highest level and I have joined a club with the ambition to get there.
“I want to play my part in helping the team get promoted because that is definitely the target,” Ajayi enthused.
The six-foot-five Nigerian becomes the club’s third summer signing, with new head coach Slaven Bilic hoping that his input will help the club achieve promotion next season.
Onyekuru snubs CSKA’s offer, prefers £14m Napoli move
Everton striker, Henry Onyekuru is apparently holding out for a summer transfer to Napoli of Italy, as he has sensationally turned down a concrete offer from CSKA Moscow of Russia.
CSKA had been hoping to see Onyekuru continue their tradition of signing Nigerian players, which has seen Ahmed Musa and Aaron Samuel Olanere play for the army-owned Russian club, but Onyekuru has snubbed their overtures, as he leaves his options open this summer.
The 22-year-old however prefers joining the Serie A runners-up, who are said to have tabled an offer in the region of £14m, after a successful loan spell from Everton to Galatasaray.
Last season with Gala, the Onitsha-born lad, who made some marks playing in the backstreets of Surulere, Lagos before going abroad on the cards of Aspire Academy, hit 16 goals to help his Istanbul-based side win the Turkish Super Lig and domestic cup.
Le Soir reports that Everton’s coach, coach Marcos Silva, is considering an offer from Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli in the region of £14m, after the forward turned down CSKA’s offer, in preference for a possible summer move to Partenopei, who are currently looking for reinforcements to aid their quest in snatching the Italian Scudetto from Juventus.
This much has been alluded to by Onyekuru’s agent, Guillaume Costet-Barmada, who confirmed that his ward will not join CKSA, but stopped short of adding whether the former KAS Eupen of Belgium lad will join Naples-based Napoli.
The agent, though, affirmed that Onyekuru is bound to leave Gala, which he joined in mid-season, after falling out with another Belgian club, RSC Anderlecht, where he was shipped to by Everton immediately after their bought him from Eupen.
The Toffees loaned Onyekuru to Anderlecht when he joined them in the summer of 2017, but he then spent all of last season at Galatasaray, because he was denied a work permit to play in the Premier League.
Last term, the 22-year-old who has a contract at Everton until end of the 2021/22 season, helped Galatasaray win the Turkish double, while scoring 16 goals in 44 games for the team across all competitions.
Chelsea striker, Ugbo looks destined for another loan spell
Chelsea and Nigeria-eligible striker Ike Ugbo could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge this summer as a loan deal looks inevitable.
Though Frank Lampard never hid his desire to give academy products the chance to be part of his team, the 20-year-old centre-forward appears far from being in the Blues squad list for next season as he was dropped from the gaffer’s pre-season squad.
From the information gathered by allnigeriasoccer.com, Ugbo currently trains with players who are destined to complete their respective loan deals before the end of the ongoing transfer period.
This means that the youngster will likely join a club where regular first team action will be guaranteed during the 2019-20 season.
After his inability to impress Lampard during their 1-1 draw against Bohemians last week, the youngster will need to follow the footsteps of two Nigeria-eligible players, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham, who spent last season on loan at Derby County and Aston Villa respectively.
With their awe-inspiring showings for their respective clubs throughout last season, both players are back to the Blues first-team setup and they are set for important roles under Lampard’s tutelage.
Having played in 30 League one matches, it is believed that the young man has all it takes to feature regularly for any Championship team come next season.
Arsenal youngsters Saka, Olayinka catch the eye against Fiorentina
Nigerian teenagers, Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka impressed as Arsenal recorded a 3-0 win against Italian club, Fiorentina at the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.
The two youngsters started for the Gunners for the second time in pre-season and were in action for 63 minutes.
“James Olayinka: More forward-looking than his midfield colleague. Olayinka’s willingness to press and win the ball back high up the pitch was encouraging indeed. 6.”
“Bukayo Saka: Another hugely exciting performance from the the 17-year-old, who has strength beyond his years and the confidence to demand the ball no matter how many opponents he has pressurising him.
“Whenever the ball came his way in the first half something happened, more than can be said for many of the attackers ahead of him in the pecking order. If a new winger isn’t settled in in time, then why not give Saka a chance on the opening weekend? 8,” popular Arsenal blog Daily Cannon wrote:
Iwobi slams UK media, welcomes Arsenal’s push for ‘World Class Players’
Alex Iwobi has refuted reports that he would consider leaving Arsenal should the club sign Ivory Coast and Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha.
Several UK media outlets including The Sun, Daily mail and Sky Sports reported on Sunday that the 23-year-old Arsenal will quit the club should the Zaha deal happen.
In a message on his twitter handle, Iwobi disclaimed the quotes as “Fake News & Click Bait”.
He further clarified his statement concerning Arsenal’s interests in Zaha, insisting that “I hope we sign World Class players at Arsenal and progress as a Team.”
Fake News & Click Bait! I Don’t know Why Some Newspapers Enjoy Twisting Words ?????????. I Hope We Sign World Class Players @Arsenal And Progress As A Team????. I’m Looking Forward To The New Season. Happy Sunday ??.
The youngster also attached pictures of the stories written by The Sun and Dailymail to his rebuttal.
Iwobi is expected to join Arsenal at some point during pre-season having recently helped Nigeria finish in third place at the AFCON 2019.
Iheanacho fires blank in Leicester pre- season win
Super Eagles striker, Kelechi Iheanacho fired blank as Leicester City defeated Cheltenham Town FC 2-1 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton secured the win for the Foxes.
Wilfred Ndidi is expected link up with his Leicester City teammates in the coming days.
Iheanacho was named in Foxes’ starting line-up for the game at the Johny-Rocks Stadium but the forward who was snubbed by coach Gernot Rohr for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) failed to find the back of the net.
The former Manchester City striker is determined to make a lasting impression for the Foxes in the 2019/20 season after being in the shadows of Jamie Vardy last term.
He made 30 league appearances and contributed a meagre one goal for the Foxes in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Amos at the double as QPR edge Oxford Utd
Luke Amos, who joined English Championship side Queens Park Rangers on loan from Tottenham Hotspur for the 2019/20 season bagged a brace as Rangers defeated Oxford United 2-1 in a pre season friendly on Saturday.
Eberechi Eze, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Olamide Shodipo also played for Queens Park Rangers in the match while Aramide Oteh was an unused substitute at the Kassam Stadium.
The highly-rated central midfielder, Amos made his Premier League debut against Newcastle United on the opening day of last season and was close to breaking into the first team squad but suffered a season-ending injury in a Premier League 2 clash vs Blackburn Rovers a month after his competitive debut for the North London club.
The 22-year-old has been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur since the age of nine.
In the friendly on Saturday, Rangers made three changes from the midweek trip to Boreham Wood. Joe Lumley started between the sticks in place of Liam Kelly, while Olamide Shodipo and Scowen replaced Aramide Oteh respectively.
During a quiet opening at the Kassam Stadium, a Grant Hall header which sailed over from a corner on the 25-minute mark was just about the closest either side came early on.
That was until just after the half-hour mark, when the game burst into life with two goals in as many minutes.
Amos stooped to head home Eze’s floated left-hand corner before the same player did exactly the same again seconds later – this time reaching Ryan Manning’s inch-perfect cross – to give Rangers breathing space.
Rangers couldn’t hold out until half-time, though. A move on the edge of the R’s box ended with Gorrin picking out the top corner from 20 yards, giving Lumley no chance.
Ujah scores another pre-season goal
Anthony Ujah was on target as FC Union Berlin played out a 1-1 draw at FC Erzgebirge Aue in a pre-season fixture ahead of the Bundesliga season in August.
Ujah scored for the second straight game to give the Köpenick club a deserved first-half lead at the Erzgebirgsstadion.
Union could have made the win safe but failed to take advantage of their first-half dominance. Daniel Meyer’s team found an extra gear in the final chunk of the game and equalised through Christoph Daferner’s header with five minutes left to play.
Former Viking striker Suleiman Abdullahi wasn’t listed for game.
Osimhen set to quit Charleroi
Victor Osimhen is poised for a move away from the Belgian Jupiler League this summer despite just joining Sporting Charleroi on a permanent deal from German club Wolfsburg.
The 20-year-old, who made his AFCON debut for Nigeria in their 1-0 win over Tunisia last Wednesday, is expected to make a big summer move to one of Europe’s top clubs with Charleroi demanding a record fee before they would part ways with the young goal machine.
Osimhen, however, remains on the radar of both AC Milan and French side Lille who want to bring the Nigerian in as a potential replacement for Ivorien Nicolas Pepe.
They would, however, have to match the player’s €12.5 million asking prices after netting an impressive 20 goals last season with Charleroi.
Now holidaying in Nigeria after clinching bronze at the 2019 AFCON, the former U-17 World Cup winner would return to Belgium in the coming weeks to sort out his future ahead of the 2019/2020 European season.
Osimhen joined Wolfsburg in January 2017 after a blistering U-17 World Cup performance two years earlier but was not given the chance at the German club before moving on loan to Charleroi where he impressed in his first full season as a professional.
Sylvester Igboun (FC Ufa): The Super Eagles fringe forward was on for the entirety of his team’s 2-3 loss at home to FC Krasnodar.
Agu finally leaves FC Porto
Portugal-based midfielder, Mikel Ndubuisi Agu has finally called it quit with FC Porto and moved to another Portuguese Primera Liga outfit, Vitória de Guimaraes on a three-year deal.
After spending eight unfruitful years with Porto, playing only two first team games for the former European champs, but was loaned severally to teams outside the Iberian country, Agu took the option to move on.
Rather than find his place in Porto’s mainframe, the product of Benin City-based BJ Foundation, was restricted to the Portuguese club’s B team in the second-tier league, then loaned to KAA Gent of Belgium, Vitória Setúbal of Portugal and Bursaspor of Turkey.
Agu’s plight, though, now appears coming to an end, as he has turned up at Guimaraes, who formally announced on Friday that they have reached an agreement with Porto for his transfer, in a deal that will keep the ex-Super Eagles player at Vitória until the summer of 2022.
The deal equally sees the Victorian club holding 50% of Agu’s economic rights during the span of the contract, which also includes a termination clause of 10 million euros.
The 26-year-old who officially joined Porto in 2011, has already started training with his new team, under the guidance of Coach, Ivo Vieira, who he hopes will give him the relevance he could not get all through his days at Oporto.
Noah Okafor (FC Basel 1893): The youngster was replaced in the 80th min of his team’s 4-1 thrashing of Sion.
Eleke scores as Luzern humble St. Gallen
Luzern were made to work hard for more than 85 minutes before scoring two times to beat battling St. Gallen 2-0 in their Swiss Super League opener at Kybunpark on Saturday.
The Luminaries were troubled by the disciplined St. Gallen, who wanted to pick a positive result in the 2019/20 Swiss Super League week one encounter.
Carelessness crept into Luzern’s game, allowing the homers grow bolder and venture forward in search of the “Golden Fleece”.
The visiting team, however, got an expected break when Eleke easily dispatched his effort from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
Their second effort was a textbook break with Christian Schneuwly scoring at injury time as Luzern’s nerves finally settled.
Eleke, 23, scored 13 goals for Die Leuchten last season in the Swiss Super League.
Ex-Atletico Madrid starlet, Otubanjo, on song
LASK Linz was ruthless with a 6-2 victory over Voecklamarkt in the Austrian Cup round 1 on Saturday and their prolific striker, Yusuf Otubanjo was among the goals.
The Black-Whites showed their superiority and it wasn’t a surprise that ex-Emmanuel Amunike Academy starlet found form.
Otubanjo, a former Golden Eaglets player was regarded as one of the top youngsters in his homeland before he transferred to Atlético Madrid in the 2011/12 campaign.
The 26-year-old defended the colours of LASK Linz last season, with 2 goals to his name from 19 appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Apart from the aforementioned teams, the striker has turned out for Zilina, Blau-Weiß Linz, Juniors OÖ and Red Bull Salzburg.
Utin targets Israeli title, Europa League
Maccabi Haifa of Isreal defender, Ikouwem Udoh Utin has disclosed that his biggest ambition with the club this season is to win the Israeli Premier League title, while also hoping they will equally do well in the continental terrain.
Utin stated as much after starring in his first UEFA Europa League match with the club he joined last month, after which he enthused that he has already started on a bright note with the top-flight club.
The former Akwa United of Uyo and Enyimba of Aba left-back admitted that he felt fulfilled getting his European debut with the team that once had former Super Eagles’ striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni in their squad.
‘Yak’ made top marks with Maccabi in the UEFA Champions League, in which one of his biggest matches came with a goal against Manchester United, such that Utin believes he is set ot take equally edifying steps with the club, following his Euro debut on Thursday.
He featured for 90 minutes of Maccabi’s 3-2 away win to NS Mura of Slovenia, with his side advancing to the next round 5-2 on aggregate, and the 19-year old Flying Eagles’ captain added that it was a huge plus that he got victory on his European box.
It was also a welcome change for the left-back, who had been an unused substitute when both sides met a week earlier in the first leg in Israel, such that Utin was hugely excited to get his chance on Thursday and end it with a good result, which he hopes to augment in days to come.
“I know it is my first time playing for a club outside Nigeria but I believe that with hard work and dedication, I can move mountains.
“I believe that this season, with the efforts of everyone at the club and what God will do for me, at the end of the season.
“We will come back with our league title and make a good impression in Europe. I want to thank God for a successful game; featuring in my first Europa game for the club,” Ikouwem told www.aclsports.com.
Viv Solomon-Otabor (PFC CSKA-Sofia): He was introduced in the 47th min of his team’s 1-3 loss at Cherno More Varna.
Rilwan Hassan (SonderjyskE): The former FC Midtjylland midfielder lasted the duration of his team’s 1-1 draw with AaB.
Daniel Anyembe (Esbjerg FB): He was on for 90 mins as his club played a 1-1 draw with Hobro.
Super sub, Eneji, inspires Senica’s comeback
Winger Peter Eneji Moses climbed off the bench to inspire FK Senica to a 3-1 victory over AS Trencin at the opening day of the 2019/20 Slovakian Super League season on Saturday.
The 20-year-old was booked for a rough tackle seven minutes from time.
Midfielder Abdul Zubairu who was at the opposing side was subbed off in the 82nd minute.
David Alberto Depetris silenced the home fans when he put Trencin in front late in the first stanza.
With the game needing a bit of spark, coach Michal Scasny threw on the skilful Peter Eneji Moses for Denis Baumgartner at the beginning of the second stanza.
The former Plateau United and Akwa United forward repaid the faith shown by Scazny with a brilliant leveller in the 68th minute.
An own goal from Peter Klescik saw the hosts went ahead for the first time in the game, before Frank Castaneda’s spot kick put the game beyond Trencin.
Eneji’s performance at the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations did not go unnoticed, with Slovakian, Belgian and Dutch clubs opening a line of communication with his bonafide representatives over a transfer.
The player shares the same intermediary as former VVV Venlo sensation Ahmed Musa and winger Moses Simon.
At the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations, he was involved in six matches, scoring two goals and logging 361 minutes.
Chinedu Obasi (AIK) & Alhaji Gero (Helsingborgs IF): Former Super Eagles forward, Obasi was on target in the 80th min and was substituted six minutes later as his team defeated Helsingborgs IF 2-0 for whom Gero lasted 90 mins.
Michael Omoh (Oerebro) & John Chibuike and Nsima Peter (Falkenbergs FF):
Omoh was in the thick of action for 90 mins, Chibuike was substituted in the 59th min while Nsima was introduced with 25 mins left to play as Oerebro defeated
Falkenbergs FF 4-0.
Chidi Dauda Omeje (Sundsvall) & Godswill Ekpolo (Haecken): Chidi was an unused substitute while Ekpolo logged 90 mins and inspired his team to a 1-0 win at Sundsvall.
Stanley Amuzie (NK Aluminij): The former U-23 left-back was inspring as his team secured a 2-1 win over Triglav at the Športni Park Aluminij (Kidricevo) in the Slovenian 1.SNL on Friday. Amuzie, who was making his second appearance of the 2019/20 season lasted the duration of the game.
The win sends Aluminij to first on the league ladder with six points from two games.
Mattias Ojala (Ilves) and Faith Friday Obilor (HJK): Ojala was a non-plying substitute but Obilor lasted 90 mins as the two clubs shared the spoils (1-1).
Nwadialu hits brace in famous win
Sunday Nwadialu netted twice as Abahani Limited humiliated Saif Sporting Club 4-1 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium (Dhaka) on Saturday.
Nwadialu bagged Abahani’s first and third goals in the Bangladesh Premier League match day 23 game which drew the applause of the fans.
The striker who is the league’s top scorer with 19 goals played the full throttle.
It will be recalled that the forward suited up for Crown FC, Muktijoddha Sangsad KC, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, Muktijoddha Sangsad KC and Churchill Brothers S.C in the past.
Nwadialu has now found the net 10 times in his last 10 games for Abahani Limited.
He has made 22 appearances for the Dhaka based club this season in the Bangladesh Premier League.
With the victory at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Abahani Limited are second on the log with 54 points from 22 matches.
Al-Bukiryah announces Onobi’s signing
Saudi Arabian club Al-Bukiryah FC has pulled off a major transfer coup after announcing the signing of Super Eagles fringe player, Paul Onobi.
The central midfielder has agreed a one-year deal with the Division One side retaining the option of extending the contract in June 2020.
Onobi, who last defended the colours of Al-Nojoom FC, was part of the Super Eagles squad at the 2016 African Nations Championship.
He has also played for Lobi Stars, Abia Warriors and KuPS in the past.
The deal that took the player to Al-Bukiryah FC was brokered by Magate Group.
Chima scores 5th goal
Daniel Chima registered his name on the score-sheet as Heilongjiang Lava Spring defeated Shanghai Shenxin 3-1 in the Chinese League One on Saturday.
The ex-Molde star equalised in the 16th min, cancelling out Xu Junmin opener at the Harbin International Conference Exhibition and Sports Center.
Cao Kang and Yang Lei found the back of the net as Heilongjiang Lava Spring won the game.
Interestingly, Daniel Chima has netted five times in the Chinese League One this term, with all those goals coming in home games.
Following their seventh win of the season, Heilongjiang Lava Spring have 26 points and occupy 8th position on the standings.
The 28-year-old also turned out for Lyn Oslo, Shanghai Shenxin and Legia Warsaw.