Supporters of both Genk and the Super Eagles will be well aware of Paul Onuachu’s talents, and soon he could become a well-known name in European football.
Since signing his first professional contract with FC Midtjylland back in 2012, the six-foot-seven striker has been a constant goal threat at the senior level. Now, he’s clinically leading the line for Genk, the four-time Belgian First Division champions. As such, his goalscoring form has piqued the interests of numerous clubs throughout Europe. So, is Onuachu in line for a career-defining move in 2021?
Linked with a Move to Lyon in January 2021
After scoring nine goals in 22 appearances in the Jupiler Pro League last season, many expected that Onuachu would take his game to new heights in 2020-21. Thus far, he hasn’t disappointed, finding the net on 24 occasions in 28 matches. Fascinatingly, his form in the opening stages of the ongoing campaign saw him linked with an exit from the Cristal Arean in the January transfer window. Of the clubs interested, Lyon looked to be the favorites to sign the 26-year-old Nigerian.
According to Interesting Football, Rudi Garcia’s team inquired about the Super Eagles striker ahead of a proposed $14.5-million transfer. However, Lyon didn’t opt to pursue the deal any further as they’ve reportedly made Onuachu their top target for the summer. To fill their offensive void for the short term, Les Gones brought Islam Slimani, reducing their need for the Nigerian. As of March 1st, Lyon is 5/1 in football betting to win Ligue 1 this season. However, it remains to be seen if their reluctance to spend big on Onuachu in January will come back to haunt them.
Interestingly, Genk’s sporting director, Dimitri De Conde, recently admitted that a January move was never on the cards. However, he added that a summer transfer is a genuine possibility as the six-foot-seven attacker may seek a new challenge.
Filling Samatta’s Boots
Aside from Lyon, Vanguard reports that the reigning Premier League champions, Liverpool, could be in the race to sign Onuachu in the summer window. Having twice faced the Reds in the 2019-20 Champions League, Jurgen Klopp admitted that his side struggled to deal with the Nigerian forward. On both occasions, the 26-year-old played alongside Mbwana Samatta, who left Genk to join Aston Villa the following summer for around $12 million.
Following the Tanzanian’s departure, the pressure was on Onuachu to step up and deliver. Thus far, he’s done so in an emphatic fashion. One of the main reasons that the Owerri-born is in demand relates to his finishing variation. At the time of writing, the Nigerian has scored three left-footed and two right-footed goals in 2020-21, along with seven penalties and five headers. Because of his height and physicality, Onuachu undoubtedly has the attributes to thrive in a major European league. Not only that, but he’s also continually improving his ruthlessness in front of the goal. As such, that makes him an intriguing option for an array of clubs.
Will Les Gones Return for Him?
Assuming Lyon’s transfer strategy doesn’t change, a move to France could be on the horizon for Onuachu. Given that Genk is somewhat resigned to a potential summer departure, a transfer away from the Jupiler Pro League should be relatively straightforward. That said, should other clubs enter the race for his signature, he may have a decision to make.