Nigerian footballers have always sought to ply their trade beyond the shores of Nigeria and the English Premier League is one of those leagues, Nigerian players set their sights on.
In a few hours, the English Premier League 2019/2020 season gets underway and much anticipation trails it in all parts of the world.
Nigeria has a handful of players in the English Premier League most notable Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi. Others include Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Isaac Success, Leon Balogun, Tammy Abraham and Dele Bashiru.
BusyBuddies takes a look at the Nigerian players in the 2019/2020 English Premier League.
The former Arsenal star played a pivotal role in the Super Eagles run at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt barely three (3) weeks ago. Many felt he didn’t do spectacularly well as he didn’t impose himself in games as much as was expected.
All that should be behind him now as he looks forward to the new season, after completing a shock deadline day move to Everton, in hopes to make much more impact with The Toffees than he did in London.
He was not involved in Arsenal’s six (6) preseason games due to the three (3) weeks extended break he was given by the team due to his involvement at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Nigerian star who can play as a striker, as well as a playmaker, will hope to have a better season after the forgettable season he had in 2018/2019 which cost him his place in the Super Eagles squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tourney in Egypt.
The former Manchester City forward started only 9 games last season scoring 2 goals in a total of 35 games played. He has however found the back of the net 3 times in 2 games in Leicester City’s preseason tour and will definitely hope to accentuate that form into the season proper in order to force his way back into the Super Eagles squad especially now that first choice marksman, Jude Odion Ighalo has retired.
The Leicester cum Nigeria midfield enforcer has been a revelation for Leicester since his move from Belgium in January 2017. He has been indispensable ever since in the squad, irrespective of the manager. From Claudio Ranieri to Craig Shakespeare to Claude Puel and now Brendan Rodgers.
He is expected to play another pivotal role in the team this season alongside Belgian new acquisition in midfield, Yuls Tielemans.
This is another Nigerian striker who has failed to live up to his potential and will be really hoping that this season becomes his breakthrough season.
He has had his own fair share of ill luck in terms of injury so will definitely be trying to stay fit this season to prove a point to Watford’s gaffer, Javi Garcia especially considering the fact that he just signed a new deal with the club recently which is expected to keep him at the club till 2023.
In recent times, Leon Balogun has been a fringe player at his club side. Ever since his move to Brighton and Hove Albion from German side, Mainz 05, he has struggled to nail down a regular shirt due to the superb performance of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy at the heart of defense for the club.
He made his debut for the team in the 3-2 victory against United in the second week of last season due to the absence of Lewis Dunk that was ruled due to an injury.
The Super Eagles defender also made some form of history when he scored within 25 seconds of coming on for injured Pascal Gross in a 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace in March this year.
He will definitely hope to play a more active role in his club this season in order to reclaim his place in the Super Eagles squad. Kenneth Omeruo was preferred over him to partner William Troost Ekong at the heart of defense during AFCON 2019.
Two weeks ago, the 19-year-old completed a move from Manchester City to Watford. He was part of Nigeria’s squad at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
The quick and energetic youngster, who was once viewed as the future of the Cityzen’s first-team squad, will look to start a new leaf in his professional career with the hopes of getting called up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Even though he has not verbally committed to playing for the Super Eagles, the 21-year-old will really hope this season is his breakthrough season at English giants, Chelsea after spending the last 3 seasons in Bristol city, Swansea City, and Aston Villa respectively, accumulating over 50 goals over those spells.
He will hope Frank Lampard’s love and believe will be a big catalyst for him this season as he battles for the position of Chelsea’s top choice striker against French international, Olivier Giroud, and Belgian Mitchy Batshuayi.