Four Nigerian Players Who Need to Step Up this Season

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Football is truly back and just two weeks since the resumption of action for the new season across Europe’s top leagues, there are already signs that some Nigerian players may need to up the ante or check out.

Here’s a list of Nigerian stars who must raise bar or move on with the transfer window still open.

 

ALEX IWOBI

The Midfielder joined Everton last summer from Arsenal for a hefty €30million, but his performance – underwhelming – prompted more spending to bulk up the first team in pursuit of a European spot this season.

 

Last season he made 25 league appearances and scored a single goal. This term it might take something phenomenal on his part to break into the first team.

 

 

Iwobi did not make the matchday squad for Everton’s season opener against Tottenham, as Manager Carlo Ancelotti preferred to go with new signing James Rodriguez and the Colombian showed his class.

 

 

If he is not guaranteed substantial game time this season, the 24 year-old might have to consider going out on loan.

 

HENRY ONYEKURU

The Winger has been fast off the mark this season with Monaco, registering a goal and an assist (after three matches) as he seeks redemption after spending last season on loan away at Galatasaray.

 

His debut season in Ligue Un was brief, making only four league appearances before the move to Turkey, but Onyekuru looks his old reliable self again, the effective contributor with a bag full of goals.

 

Although it’s quite early in the season, the Player is impacting Monaco’s early impressive run and could come good for the €13.50m paid to Everton for his services.

 

KELECHI IHEANACHO

At some point last season was the renaissance of a player forgotten and on the precipice of oblivion until he took his career by the scruff of the neck. Iheanacho is not going to be Brendan Rodgers’ first choice striker, but to say he’ll be content with being number two is to play down on his ambitions.

The Forward was at his best in Leicester only after the appointment of Rodgers and could stick around as long as the Manager wants him to, otherwise he must step out of the shadows of Jamie Vardy.

 

OLA AINA

Last season there was a marginal drop in form compared to his first season in 2018/19 at Torino, where he was a regular. But his loan move to newly promoted Fulham in the Premier League came as a shock, that in time will prove to be either a good or bad decision.

 

Ola Aina has the potential to be a world class player and has shown that gradual development from Chelsea to Hull City and Torino, but the 23 year-old has his work cut out at Fulham.

 

Scott Parker’s side started off poorly with a 3-0 defeat at home to Arsenal and the bookies have them on 11/10 odds to be relegated.

 

Aina was not listed for the match and game time at the club might prove difficult to come by in desperate times with more established players ahead of him in the perking order.

 

Note: This piece for written for Brila.net and was published September 16.

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