Nigerians who might make moves Mikel Babatunde Moses Emineke Onazi
have already secured moves since the World Cup. One senses, however,
that one or two more Super Eagles may soon follow suit.
This article profiles five internationals — all of whom
featured for Stephen Keshi’s side in Brazil — who may be in line to
secure a big transfer before the beginning of the European season.
Comment below and let us know which of these stars should move over the coming weeks and where they should go.
John Obi Mikel
It’s hard to deny that John Obi Mikel’s time at Chelsea has come to an end.
The midfielder’s playing time was greatly reduced last season
following the arrival of Nemanja Matic and despite the departures of
David Luiz and Frank Lampard, the Nigerian doesn’t appear to feature in
Jose Mourinho’s plans.
The presence of youngsters such as Oriol Romeu, Marco van Ginkel and
Josh McEachran also threatens to squeeze Mikel’s position in the team.
Most damningly, rumours that the Pensioners have slashed their asking
price to try and offload the central midfielder indicates that he has
lost his lustre in the eyes of the manager.
It may well be the case that Mikel needs to move to reignite a career
that has stalled badly. Compared to his excellent showings at the 2013
Cup of Nations and the Confederations Cup, Mikel was listless in Brazil
and came in for heavy criticism from Nigeria fans.
Might a move to Italy — where the slower pace might benefit the
typically lethargic player — help the former Lyn Oslo man to rediscover
some of the obscured ability that made him such a coveted player earlier
in his career?
He arrived at the World Cup presumably as a peripheral figure but,
after a fairly anonymous performance against Scotland at Craven Cottage,
profited from the poor form of Victor Moses and Ramon Azeez.
Babatunde performed well in the crucial 1-0 victory over
Bosnia-Herzegovina and also looked the part against Argentina, before
Ogenyi Onazi’s powerful shot fractured his wrist.
It was a sad way for Babatunde’s promising run of form to come to an
end, but the fact that his absence against France was lamented, when he
had been a bit-part player only two games previously, is testament to
his excellent impact in Brazil.
Premier League sides Sunderland and Stoke City have been linked to
the FC Volyn midfielder and considering the latter’s trouble to push
through the Oussama Assaidi deal, a move for another left-sided
midfielder may be on the horizon.
There aren’t many players who arguably need a move as much as Victor Moses.
Despite an encouraging first season to life at Chelsea, the forward
has struggled to demonstrate that he has the footballing intelligence
needed to thrive at an elite club.
Last season, for example, he was shown up at Liverpool, where there
was no place for him among the intuitive movement and flawless technique
of Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.
It’s hard to see where he fits in at Chelsea, either in the short term or the long term.
This season, the likes of Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard, Oscar,
Willian, Ramires and Mohamed Salah will occupy the wide forward berths.
of those players have many years ahead of them, while the club’s massed
ranks of young players, guys such as Marko Marin, Thorgan Hazard and
Christian Atsu, will provide competition for years to come.
News of interest from West Bromwich Albion is encouraging and Moses
would do well to chase a move to a club such as the Black Country outfit
where he will have a much better chance of imposing himself and
realising his immense ability.
midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was regularly linked with Liverpool and Everton
earlier in the year, and while those rumours may have died down
slightly, don’t be surprised if the Merseyside pair are no less
interested in the Nigeria star.
In fact, they may actually face increased competition for his
signature following his showings in Brazil. Onazi was one of the Super
Eagles’ stars, despite being asked to perform a disciplined holding role
that doesn’t exactly suit his skill set.
As I have written before, Onazi is the glue that holds the Super
Eagles together, and this was never more evident than against France in
the second round.
Soon after the Lazio man was replaced, injured following a tackle by
Blaise Matuidi, Nigeria capitulated — John Obi Mikel and Reuben Gabriel
unable to hold back France’s superb midfield three. With the energy and
intelligence of Onazi, such a feat had seemed possible.
free agents Victor Obinna and Shola Ameobi might be cut-price options
for major-league clubs seeking some extra firepower, but for those
shopping in the high-end of the market, Emmanuel Emenike might be a
The forward didn’t score in Brazil, but once again he demonstrated
his qualities, the characteristics of his game that, by now, every Super
Eagles fan is familiar with.
His showing against Bosnia-Herzegovina was pretty close to an ideal
showing by a centre-forward being asked to perform in a wide role.
chased and harried the tormented Emir Spahic for the duration of the
contest, chasing through balls, pressuring the Bosnian and using his
pace to run the channels. His strength was also evident and Nigeria’s
decisive goal came after Emenike, marrying pace and power with
endeavour, outclassed Spahic before crossing for Peter Odemwingie to
The Fenerbahce man may not have the qualities to thrive at, say,
Chelsea (the Pensioners have been linked with a £15million move), but at
a club like Everton (who have a fine tradition of featuring Nigerian
players) he may be a perfect fit.