Many deals were completed during the January football transfer window, but a few others hit the proverbial brick wall.
The English Premier League was the most active business area, with Chelsea going on a spending spree and even breaking the British transfer record by signing Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.
At the bottom of the table, the likes of Southampton were also involved in brisk businesses to stave off relegation from England’s top flight.
Like every other year, scenarios of players’ deals being hijacked by the richer and sometimes more innovative clubs all played out, with others pulling massive transfer coups.
Nigerian players did not make the headlines during the winter transfer window, although one or two of them were involved in clubs tussling over their services
With the January Transfer Window now officially over at least in mainstream Europe, PREMIUM TIMES makes a selection of five of the top moves made by Nigeria players this winter.
Terrem Moffi: Lorient – OGC Nice
The Super Eagles striker was on the wishlist of some English Premier League clubs, but he opted to stay on in the French Ligue 1, where he is carving a goal-scoring reputation.
Since arriving in France from KV Kortrijk in 2020, Moffi has scored an impressive 34 goals in 87 matches and he is ready to score even more now that he has switched from his erstwhile club Lorient to OGC Nice.
As per French Football, “the deal between Nice and Lorient is not a straight transfer, but a mandatory paid loan of €2.5 million with a €22.5 million (plus €5 million bonus) obligation to buy the Nigerian international striker.
The nine-times-capped Super Eagles forward is expected to make his debut appearance for Nice against Marseille on Sunday, 5 February.
Paul Onuachu: Racing Genk – Southampton
The gangling striker is the latest Nigerian player to move to the English Premier League after a deadline-day move from his Belgian club RKC Genk to Southampton
The forward will hope to follow the record of the likes of Efan Ekoku, Kanu Nwankwo, and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who showed how lethal they could be in the Premier League in the years past.
“I can’t wait to meet you guys.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/srQXSpOPIu
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) February 1, 2023
With the Saints languishing at the bottom of the table halfway through the season, Onuachu will need to make an immediate impact in his first game, which is likely to be against Brentford this weekend.
Fortunately for Onuachu, he has a Nigerian friend in Joe Aribo at Southampton who should help him settle in as soon as possible.
Ebenezer Akinsanmiro: Remo Stars – Inter Milan
Though not widely celebrated in the media, this is a heartwarming move from a Nigerian youngster, straight from the Nigeria Professional Football League to the big league in Italy.
As revealed by Remo Stars, the teenager who is an academy product of the club signed a four-year deal with Inter Milan
Akinsanmiro was part of the team that helped Remo Stars gain promotion from the Nigeria National League to the NPFL in the 2020/2021 season.
He also featured in the 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League for the Sky Blues Stars.
Most notably, Akinsanmiro featured for the Remo Stars academy team, Beyond Limits in The Creative Championship, and Viareggio Cup World Football Tournament.
Hopefully, he makes a name for himself at Inter just like the duo of Obafemi Martins and Pastor Taribo West
Tolu Arokodare: Amiens – Racing Genk
Genk appears to be in love with tall Nigerian strikers with the signing of Arokodare the same day when Onuachu made a switch to the Premier League to join Southampton.
Arokodare last featured for French Ligue 2 club Amiens before inking a four-and-a-half-year deal with Racing Genk.
Right from his early days with Nigerian grassroots clubs Flying Sports Academy and Box2Box FC, Arokodare has proven to be a lethal striker.
He notched 43 goals in total for his previous European clubs but would be keen to improve on that tally in Belgium.
KRC Genk’s Head of Football, Dimitri De Condé, had very nice words to say about their new Nigerian striker.
“Despite his height, he is very agile, fast in the first meters, and strong with his head,” he said via the club’s official website.
William Troost-Ekong: Watford – Salernitana
With minutes becoming scarce at Vicarage Road with Watford, Troost-Ekong made a quick return to the Italian Serie A, where he is on loan until the end of the season with Salernitana.
Troost-Ekong returns to the Italian top flight two years and four months after he left Udinese to join Watford.
Salernitana will pay Watford a loan fee for the central defender and there’s a clause for a further fee should The Garnets keep their top-flight status at the end of the 2022-2023 season.
Troost-Ekong’s arrival is already rubbing off positively on Salernitana as he made a winning debut with Serie A’s newly promoted side against Lecce.
The three points will help Salernitana in achieving its primary target of keeping its elite status at the end of the season.
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