Transfer Deadline: Nigerian stars who can move on the last day
With just 24 hours to the close of the summer transfer window, European clubs have been busy in a bid to strengthen their squads for the 2022/23 season.
According to footballtransfers.com, the 2022 summer transfer window has been one of the biggest in history, with Europe’s leading clubs trading billions of euros on some of the game’s leading players.
Despite the financial uncertainty that many clubs have faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term fallout from that, there is little evidence to suggest spending at the top level of the game is about to be cut, with England’s clubs leading the charge.
Clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and even newly promoted Nottingham Forest have been busy during this transfer window.
While some of these clubs have strengthened their squads in pursuit of titles, some are vying to maintain their status and remain in the topflight leagues while others have the ambition of competing just to rub shoulders with the big boys.
Players like Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane, Gabriel Jesus and recently acquired United player, Antony, have all switched clubs in megabucks deals.
However, Nigerian players were not left out having seen Emmanuel Dennis and Taiwo Awoniyi both join Forest in club-record transfers while Calvin Bassey also joined Ajax.
The 22-year-old signed a five-year deal with the Dutch club worth £18.7m, but the fee could rise to £22.7m with add-ons, making him Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history.
More Eagles players in the form of Jamilu Collins, Joe Aribo, Raphael Onyedika, Cyriel Dessers, Ademola Lookman, David Okereke and a host of others have been involved in this summer transfers.
With the 2022/23 season already underway, the future of some Eagles players remains uncertain as the summer transfer window draws to a close.
Many of these Nigerian players have been making headlines in the last few days as clubs look to conclude business before or on September 1st.
We take a look at some of the Eagles players who could make a move to another club before the end of the transfer window on Thursday night.
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Osimhen is in the middle of the latest transfer window saga as it nears a close, with reports of a mega deal being discussed between Napoli and Manchester United concerning the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo and Osimhen.
The striker, who is in his third season with Napoli since joining the club from Lille in a record €81m deal in 2020, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Italian club.
The 23-year-old has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Bayern Munich this window but the Red Devils remain the only club at the moment still interested with Napoli holding out for €120m for the Nigerian.
While Osimhen has started the season in good form scoring two goals and recording one assist in three league appearances for the Partenopei, his future with the Italian club remains in serious doubt until the close of the transfer window.
Sadiq Umar (Almeria)
Another Nigerian player who has also been making the transfer headline is Almeria’s striker, Sadiq Umar.
The Nigeria international has become one of the most important players at the Rojiblancos in the last two seasons, playing a major role as Almeria secured promotion to the top division as champions of the Segunda Division after eight years of asking.
The 25-year-old’s impressive performance has drawn interest from several clubs in Europe, with Villarreal, Getafe, Real Sociedad and Sevilla all interested in the forward.
While, Almeria manager, Rubi is optimistic about keeping hold of his talisman, speculations linking him away from the club have refused to cease with the latest report that Sociedad are ready to splash the cash following the record sale of Alexander Isak to Newcastle.
Paul Onuachu (Genk)
The future of Onuachu has been shrouded in doubt since last summer’s transfer window.
Despite being the club’s top scorer for two seasons, Genk remained open to selling the player –only for the right offer- but it has come as a big surprise that there has not been any concrete bid for the lanky striker.
The Nigerian, who claimed Belgium’s best African player or player of African descent, the Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year and top scorer’s awards for the 2020-21 season, has been linked with move to Atletico Madrid in Spain, Ajax and recently with Club Brugge.
The Super Eagles striker has expressed his desire to leave the Smurfs should the opportunity comes and while he is not short of suitors, the club’s demand of €18m for the 28-year-old has been the stumbling block.
Last season, Onuachu made 35 First Division A appearances for Genk, scored 21 goals and provided two assists.
Moses Simon (Nantes)
Reports linking Simon to the newly promoted English Premier League side, Nottingham Forest gained momentum in the last few days as the transfer window is about to come to an end.
It was also gathered that the winger had agreed to personal terms with the Reds with only the transfer fee the issue between the clubs.
Simon’s situation is however complicated with Nantes not willing to sell the Nigerian having become an integral part of the team since joining from La Liga outfit Levante in 2020 after a year on loan at the club in 2019.
The winger has scored 21 goals and provided 22 assists in 102 appearances for the Canaries.
Last season, Simon helped Nantes win the Coupe de France and secure a ninth-place finish in France’s top tier.
However, an enticing fee from Forest, who have already splashed out over €150m during this transfer window, may prove too difficult to turn down.
The 27-year-old has also been linked with other English teams, including Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United.
William Troost-Ekong (Watford)
The Super Eagles captain could be set for a return to Italy after he emerged as a late addition to the Bologna transfer list.
Troost-Ekong has lost his place at Watford since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in February.
After having an offer from Turkish Super Lig giants, Fenerbahce, turned down by the Hornets, the defender all but looks set to stay with the English club.
As it has always been the case, the late drama often involved with the transfer windows has seen the Nigerian being handed a lifeline with a link to Bologna in the Serie A.
Bologna have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league so far this season and are looking to sign an experienced defender to shore up their defence.
Manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is keen to lure Troost-Ekong back to Italy having played for Serie A club, Udinese between 2018 and 2020, making 66 appearances.
Zaidu Sanusi (Porto)
While Porto are not in the mood to sell Zaidu, a right offer could force the left-back to move to Brighton in the Premier League.
The Portuguese champions remained adamant that the Eagles player was not for sale and have turned down offers from Everton, who sold Frenchman, Lucas Digne to Aston Villa.
Having fended off the interest from the Toffees, Porto are now trying to hold off another bidding war from fellow English club, Brighton.
The Seagulls sold Marc Cucurella to Chelsea for a record club-record sale of £52.5m and have identified Zaidu as a replacement for the Spanish fullback.
The Lagos-born left back, according to transfermarkt, is valued at €10m, with the cash to spend an offer of €20m might be too difficult to reject by the Portuguese club.
Josh Maja (Bordeaux)
After rejecting a contract extension from French club, Bordeaux, some days ago, the future of Maja remains unclear.
With his current deal expiring in June 2023, Les Girondins could be forced into attempting to sell the player, despite the facts that he has started the 2022/23 campaign as an important part of David Guion’s retooled strike force.
Credit: The Punch