Players From Nigeria In Top Leagues
Nigerian footballers have long been playing in the top leagues around the world, including those in Europe. Sunday Oliseh, Jay-Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Nwankwo Kanu and Taribo West are all examples of Nigerian players who stared in the top leagues during their career. They are sure to have inspired the next generation of Nigerian players who are currently operating in the best leagues around the world.
Beginning in the English Premier League and there are several Nigerian players enjoying life in what is regarded by many as being the top league in the world. Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho both play for Leicester City, who look set to finish inside the top four of the Premier League come the end of the 2019/20 season. Ndidi in particular has been a standout performer for The Foxes over the last two years following his move from Genk in Belgium. At just 23 years of age at the time of writing, the defensive midfielder has been attracting plenty of attention from the biggest clubs around Europe.
Ndidi has previously been linked with a move to Manchester United and could line up with the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes next season at Old Trafford. A transfer to the Red Devils would see Ndidi link up briefly with fellow Nigerian international Odion Ighalo, who is on loan at Manchester United until January. However, any potential deal could hinge on Manchester United’s qualification for the Champions League.
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Other Nigerian footballers currently plying their trade in the English Premier League include Isaac Success of Watford and Alex Iwobi of Everton. It has recently been reported that Douglas Idahosa, his former coach from Nigerian side BJ Foundation has urged Success to leave Watford and further his career, even if it means going out loan. Success has seen regular first team chances limited at Vicarage Road and may choose to move on in the summer. The forward still has the best years of his career ahead of him and there are sure to be plenty of takers around Europe for the services of Success.
Moving to the Spanish La Liga and this is where you will find the next potential star of Nigerian football. Samuel Chukwueze plays for Villarreal having come through the Diamond Football Academy. The winger was born in Umuahia Abia state and having made his debut for Villarreal in 2018, he has been compared to Dutch legend Arjen Robben. Chukwueze was revealed as one of the 50 youngsters to watch in world football for the 2019/20 season by UEFA’s official website and has certainly lived up to the billing. Previously linked with a move to Arsenal, Chukwueze has revealed Chelsea is his favourite team so it will be interesting to see what develops in the next transfer window.
Defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem both play for Leganes in La Liga along with Peter Etebo of Getafe and Ramon Azeez of Granada.
The German Bundesliga is also home to a group of Nigerian players including Jamilu Collins, Kingsley Ehizibue, Maduka Okoye, Noah Joel Sarenren Bazee, Suleiman Abdullahi and the experienced Anthony Ujah. The Italian Serie A boasts four Nigerian players at the time of writing with Victor Moses being the biggest name at Inter Milan but Caleb Okoli is a player who could be stealing the headlines in the next few years. Currently at Atalanta, Okoli is just 18 years of age and is already attracting interest from other teams in Italy and beyond.
Finally, France has always been a strong league in terms of Nigerian players. Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Victor Osimhen and Josh Maja are all young Nigerian internationals playing in Ligue 1 and they each have a great future in the game.
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