These are truly exciting times for the Nigerian national team. The Super Eagles have an established squad of players, but there is a fantastic generation of young stars aged 23 or under that is also knocking on the door – the future could not be brighter.
A number of these starlets are on the cusp of a move to a major club in Europe, and the five names listed below will have their eyes on a big-money transfer to the Premier League to join the likes of Wilfried Ndidi and Alex Iwobi in lighting up English football.
There are betting markets pertaining to where a player may move in the near future, and Nigeria’s young eagles feature prominently in these categories.
So who is this talented quintet hoping to make their mark on the EPL?
With a goal-to-game ratio of roughly one-in-two during the 2019/20 campaign, Victor Osimhen has established himself as one of the hottest young properties in world football.
The 21-year-old’s exploits in front of goal have come as part of a fairly conservative Lille outfit, which makes his achievements all the more impressive – he netted 37% of his side’s whole tally.
A classic center-forward, Osimhen is ready to hit the ground running at a big club and Liverpool have already been heavily linked. The Reds will be eyeing the Premier League title in 2020/21, as they are set to restart the season in which they are all but confirmed as champions with a price of 1/1000 in the English Premier League betting odds. The Nigerian striker could add a bit of variety to the front line to avoid them becoming predictable next season.
Nigerian football fans will remember Jay-Jay Okocha, the extraordinarily talented playmaker who never quite hit the highs his talent deserved.
While it would be crazy to put Samuel Chukwueze in the same bracket as Okocha right now, the pair do share a similarity in that the Villarreal winger is also blessed with incredible skill marred by the ability to be frustratingly inconsistent.
But he is only 21 years old, and if he can find a reliable end product to go with his dazzling dribbling then Chukwueze will become something of an unstoppable force. His stats – 1.70 completed dribbles per 90 minutes and 1.10 key passes – is a decent return from a player who is not a first-team regular in Spain.
The transfer rumor mill is usually wide of the mark, but there is talk that if Jadon Sancho completes his summer move to the Premier League – as predicted by the various transfer betting markets, then Chukwueze could be lined up as a replacement at Borussia Dortmund.
While Dortmund remains the bridesmaid to the bride that is Bayern Munich – a fact likely to be confirmed in any German football preview and tips that are published ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, the introduction of the sublime Chukwueze might just help to shake up the Bundesliga betting.
Born in England, Josh Maja served his footballing apprenticeship with Sunderland before securing a lucrative move to Bordeaux. His goals in Ligue 1 have caught the eye, especially for a player who has stepped up in grade quite considerably, and there is a feeling that Maja will want to return to England at a Premier League club as soon as possible.
Everton have been mentioned as one possible destination, but the smart betting money would be on a move to Arsenal, a club with a fine history of signing French-based players and in taking young stars with the potential to the next level.
With 33 international caps to his name, it feels like Moses Simon has been around for years. And yet, it wasn’t until 2019/20 that he really made his breakthrough in club football. He was excellent for Nantes, contributing five goals and as many assists plus 1.40 key passes and the same number of completed dribbles per 90 minutes from the left flank.
The reality of course is that Nantes are never going to be considered as contenders in the Ligue 1 betting odds – indeed, mid-table is their natural domain, and so a move away from the club is the only way that Simon can achieve his ambitions in the game.
At just 23, Henry Onyekuru has already played for Anderlecht, Galatasaray, and Monaco. That nomadic existence has meant that the young winger has never truly settled, and the inconsistency of his performances is a testament to this fact. But on his day, Onyekuru is devastating, with blistering pace and a tremendous ability to shift the ball from his left foot to his right and vice versa.
He’s also a decent passer of the ball – 1.60 key passes per 90 for Galatasaray this term is proof of that, and with more consistent game time the winger will surely improve immeasurably.
All of these players have an interesting future ahead of them, so be sure to keep your eyes on them to see how their careers develop. Regardless of what happens, all of them are at the heart of a very bright future for Nigerian football.
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