Even though football clubs across the globe are grappling with the sharp drop in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, the transfer window has seen millions of dollars exchange hands with dozens of players switching teams.
Nigerian players have not been left out of the football transfer business, even though the country’s footballers may no longer command huge price tags or attract interest from so called big teams.
PREMIUM TIMES highlights some of the major moves made by Nigeria players in the summer transfer window
Victor Osimhen (Lille > Napoli) – €54m
The towering striker is the toast of all having commanded a staggering €54m move from Ligue 1 side Lille to Serie A giants, Napoli.
The Napoli move makes Osimhen one of the biggest transfers of this window. The former Royal Charleroi forward only spent a season with the French club, that once paraded former Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, before making the move.
He, however, left his mark with the French club, scoring 13 goals with four assists in 27 league appearances.
Already, his double hat-trick in friendly matches during the preseason has set expectations high that the 21-year old attacker will hit the ground running when Napoli kick off their Serie A campaign against Parma.
Victor Osimhen is no doubt Nigeria’s brightest shining light in the 2020-2021 transfer window.
Leon Balogun (Brighton > Glasgow Rangers)
This Nigerian international defender joined Scottish top outfit Glasgow Rangers this summer on a one year deal with an option for a second.
Balogun rarely played for Brighton after he became surplus to requirements upon his arrival from Mainz and was confined to the bench after a series of injuries.
The move to Wigan Athletic was beneficial for the towering defender as he put in a series of top performances, which helped him get into top shape again.
Capped 32 times by Nigeria, Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard, acknowledged that Leon’s wealth of international experience will boost the club after the injury to Nikola Katic and also help young defenders.
John Obi Mikel (Trabzonspor > Stoke City)
This midfield enforcer was not expected to make a return to England after he parted company with Trabzonspor, leaving the club by mutual consent. But Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill must believe that the former Nigerian international has gotten better with age.
Mikel is joining the Potters a few years after leaving Chelsea where he spent 11 years. It took some convincing from the Stoke City boss to get the former Tianjin Teda’s midfielder to come on board.
Mikel’s ability to hold on to the ball and distribute passes until an opening is created could add another dimension to Stoke’s attacking play.
If Mikel settles in quickly and combines his industry well with his versatility, the Potters might see their dream of staging a comeback to the EPL become a reality.
Fisayo Bashiru (Man City > Sheffield Wednesday)
The box-to-box midfielder’s failure to break into the star-studded Manchester City team prompted his move to Sheffield Wednesday, where he hopes to win the heart of manager Garry Monk.
Bashiru has been with the Citizens since he was eight years old, where he moved through the ranks but was unable to do enough for coach Pep Guardiola.
He represented Nigeria at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland and scored one goal in three matches as Nigeria crashed out in the round of 16.
Brown Ideye (Aris Thessaloniki > Göztepe)
Ideye joined Turkish outfit Göztepe FC in June on a two-year deal after a season with Greek side Aris Thessaloniki.
The former West Bromwich Albion striker was said to have departed Greece because he didn’t want to continue playing for peanuts.
Ideye’s recent move to Turkey makes it his eighth foreign transfer in his career as a professional player, following stints in Switzerland, France, Ukraine, England, Spain, China, and Greece.
But his move to Göztepe has been much welcome, as he is coming into the club at a time when the yellow and red side is struggling to remain in the Turkish Super Lig.
Moses Simon (Levante > Nantes) Undisclosed fee
French Ligue 1 side, FC Nantes, signed the Super Eagles winger on a permanent deal after he impressed in his season-long loan at the club.
The Canaries agreed a four year deal with the club’s Player of the Year award winner, who scored nine times and had eight assists in all competitions.
His direct play and ability to take on his marker made him a fan favourite at the Stade de la Beaujoire, gaining a decisive 40 per cent of the votes in a poll conducted to elect the club’s top performer of the campaign.
— Ebere (@EbereEze10) August 30, 2020
Eberechi Eze (QPR > Crystal Palace)
Eze joined Premier League side Crystal Place for a reported £20m fee on a five-year deal. This English U-20 international of Nigerian descent has been tipped to be the next big thing in the 2020-2021 Premier League season and Selhurst Park seems to be an ideal destination to achieve that.
The 22-year old scored 20 goals for QPR in 112 first-team appearances after joining in 2016, a performance that had prompted the Super Eagles’ gaffer to invite him to train with the national team.
Last season, the dark skinned midfielder was named his former club’s Supporters’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, and Young Player of the Year.
Felix Uduokhai (Wolfsburg > Ausburg)
Uduokhai joined another Bundesliga side Ausburg on a permanent deal after the centre back gave a good account of himself as a loanee at the club.
The 22-year old defender featured in 23 matches for the Fuggerstadter last season under the watchful eye of manager Heiko Hellish, and ensured the club stayed afloat at the end of the season.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr hopes Uduokhai will switch his allegiance to Nigeria as the search for a consistent centre back for the national team heats up.
Francis Uzoho (Deportivo la Coruna > Apoel Nicosia)
Apoel Nicosia finalised the signing of Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho on a permanent deal for three years.
Uzoho sealed the permanent deal after an 18-month loan stint at the club, laying an end to speculation about his future.
Former Nigeria international, Taye Taiwo has signed a one-year contract with Cypriot First Division outfit Doxa Katokopias. This is the 35-year-olds 11th professional club in his career.#AfricaSoccerZone #ASZ pic.twitter.com/YfLmZjiQxh
— Africa Soccer Zone (@AfricaSoccer_zn) July 3, 2020
Taye Taiwo (Rops > Doxa Katokopias)
The former Olympic Marseille left fullback joined Cypriot side, Doxa Katokopias, on a one year contract after a one-season stint with Finnish side RoPS.
This move makes it the 11th professional club in Europe that Taiwo has played for in his football career.
— Emem Eduok (@ememeduok21) August 29, 2020
Emem Uduok (Hajduk Split > Konyaspor)
The fringe Super Eagles winger will fight for honours in the Turkish Super Lig side Konyaspor after his parent club Hajduk Split agreed to send him on loan with an option to buy.
The winger showed promise in his first season at Hajduk Split, scoring 11 goals and three assists in 32 official appearances for the six-time Croatian champions.
But the fleet-footed winger has failed to live up to those high standards and was sent on loan, where he can enjoy regular playing time.
Muyiwa Olabiran (Dynamo Kiev > Olimpik Donetsk )
The Ivorian-born Nigeria U-20 striker joined Olimpik Donetsk on a loan deal after he struggled to tie down a regular shirt at Dynamo Kiev.
Zaidu Sanusi (Santa Clara > FC Porto)
Sanusi made a sensational move from Santa Clara to Portuguese giants FC Porto on a five years deal for an undisclosed fee.
The 23-years old left-full back signed a contract to keep him at the club till the end of the 2024-2025 season.
Afeez Aremu (IK Start > St. Pauli)
Aremu sealed a move to German second tier side St. Pauli on a two-year deal after a promising campaign at IK Start.
The holding midfielder played a total of 63 matches for IK Start in his two seasons at the club and scored five goals with one assist.
Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica > FC Twente)
After a protracted injury spell that kept him out of action for over two years, the right-back has been offered a route back to revive his club career.
Ebuehi, who was born and raised in the Netherlands but has since switched allegiance to play for Nigeria, is looking to use this opportunity to relaunch his career.
I am excited to announce my arrival at Galatasaray, I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity and I am happy to be part of such a historic club.
— Etebo Karo (@etebo_karo) September 9, 2020
Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City > Galatasaray)
The former Warri Wolves star is yet to hit the high notes abroad despite his huge potential. Though contracted with Stoke City until 2023, nothing suggests that the Nigerian midfielder has a future with the Potters.
Etebo played the second half of last season in the La Liga with Getafe but now he is set for a fresh challenge with Turkish giants Galatasaray.
More Nigerian players are still expected to make moves across clubs, especially with the extended window brought in to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
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