Former Golden Eaglets captain, Kelechi Nwakali could become the next Nigerian player to star for FC Porto of Portugal, following interest expressed in his signature by the former European champions.
Porto have a ling history with Nigerian players, dating back to the days of Kelvin Onyekachi Amuneke and Philip Chidi Onyemah in their youth teams, while Chidozie Awaziem, Musa Yahaya, Uche Agbo and Mikel Ndubuisi Agu are among Nigeria’s current stars in their fold.
They now appear ready to add Nwakali to that list, having opened talks with his parent club, Arsenal of England, over a possible transfer for the Eaglets’ Chile 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup-winning captain.
The 20-year-old Nwakali is contracted to Arsenal until June 30, 2021, but negotiations are said to be at an advanced stage and Porto are hoping to conclude a season-long loan deal before they begin their pre-season preparations.
The midfielder has already agreed personal terms with the 28-time Portuguese Primeira Liga champions, and is now awaiting approval from The Gunners’ hierarchy before flying to Portugal in the next few days.
Since Nwakali Jnr turned professional, he has played his best football loan on at MVV Maastricht, scoring seven goals in 52 appearances in two different loan spells with the Dutch club..
This is mostly because Arsenal could not process a work permit for him, as he does not have enough senior national team caps and was omitted from Nigeria’s World Cup roster.
Nwakali was left out of the Eagles’ World Cup squad, despite hitting a wonder goal in an exhibition match for the Nigeria B-team against Atletico Madrid of Spain in Uyo, and looks set for another loan spell outside Emirates Stadium.