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‘Osimhen £74m move to Napoli’ — five record transfers by Nigerian players

‘Osimhen £74m move to Napoli’ — five record transfers by Nigerian players
July 31
20:20 2020

Nigerian footballers have been involved in big transfers in Europe since the late 1990s. From legendary players like Austin Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu, to Obafemi Martins, Osaze Odemwingie, Emmanuel Emenike, among others.

In the wake of Victor Osimhen’s big money move to Napoli, a top club in Italy, from Lille, a French Ligue 1 side, TheCable puts together the top five transfers involving Nigerian players in recent years.

5. Ahmed Musa (£17 million)

The Jos-born winger commanded the fee when he joined Al-Nassr, the Saudi Arabia club, from Leicester City. The Kano indigene had an underwhelming two years with the English Premier League (EPL) side where he managed two goals in 21 games.

He, however, resuscitated his career with a loan move to CSKA Moscow of Russia and capped it with a stellar performance for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup in Russia where he led the Super Eagles to the round of 16 stage.

The Russia fans’ favourite is now enjoying his time in Saudi Professional League, winning the league in his first season and contributing seven goals in 41 games for his Riyadh-based club.

4. Odion Ighalo (£20 million)

Ighalo double helps Man United knock Derby County out of FA Cup

Now enjoying his time at Manchester United, his dream club, Ighalo shocked Nigerians in 2017 when he moved to China from the EPL where he played for Watford.

An intelligent goal poacher, Watford got a princely £20 million for Ighalo’s transfer to Changchun Yatai. The 31-year-old striker’s 36 goals in 55 appearances — 21 of them coming in the second season — could not save the former Chinese Super League club from relegation.

He later moved to Shanghai Shenhua from where he found his way to Manchester United’s Theatre of Dreams on a loan deal.

3. Kelechi Iheanacho (£25 million)

At 20, Kelechi Iheanacho completed a £25 million move to Leicester City from Manchester City in search of more playing time, signing a five-year contract in August 2017.

The Imo state native horned his skills at City’s academy and graduated to the first team in 2015, scoring 21 goals in 64 games before the move.

Leicester City earmarked him as the perfect player to complement the speed of Jamie Vardy in their frontline and shelled out the hefty transfer fee.

2. Alex Iwobi (£35 million)

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder left Arsenal for Everton at the start 2019/20 season, two hours after the transfer window deadline.

Iwobi, nephew to Okocha, is packed with some of his uncle’s flair and dribbling abilities, and they helped him to 15 goals in 148 appearances for Arsenal — 100 of them in the EPL.

He also managed to create 18 big chances for the Gunners in his last three season with them, second only to Mesut Ozil (25) at the Emirates stadium before his last-minute move to the Toffess.

Limited mostly by injuries, Iwobi has made 25 league appearances for Everton since the move. He has also improved since the club hired Carlo Acellotti, and looks a better player under the guidance of the former AC Milan, Real Madrid, PSG and Chelsea manager.

1. Victor Osimhen (£74 million)

Osimhen voted Lille's player of the season

Osimhen’s recently announced £74 million move to Napoli has shattered the transfer record for a Nigerian international and African players.

The 21-year-old started to gain global attention following his stellar performances at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup where he won the golden boot. He, however, got his big break at Royal Charleroi of Belgium in 2018 where he scored 19 goals and followed it up with 18 goals in 38 matches at LOSC Lille.

He was also voted the club’s player of the year and also named the Best African Player In Ligue 1 for year 2020.

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Jonathan Ledger

Jonathan Ledger

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