The 2020/2021 season was an impressive one for Nigerian footballers around the world, with a number of stars coming under the spotlight. Players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Paul Onuachu, Joe Aribo and Samuel Chukwueze helped their teams win trophies across Europe’s finest club competitions.
With just a few weeks to go to the start of the 2021/2022 European football season we take a look at five Nigerian forwards you should definitely be keeping an eye on in the upcoming season.
5) TEREM MOFFI (FC Lorient)
The 22-year-old Calabar born player was a revelation last season, playing a vital role in Lorient’s escape from relegation in the Ligue 1. Ending the season with 14 Ligue 1 goals, the fifth highest in the league and the most a Nigerian Player has scored in a single Ligue 1 campaign since Victor Ikpeba (16) for Monaco in the 1997/1998 season.
Going by his previous records of 20 goals in 27 appearances for Riteria (Lithuania) and 5 goals in 9 appearances on loan to KV Kotrijk (Belgium) in the 2018/2019 season, he’s definitely no fluke and certainly one to watch out for in the coming season.
4) UMAR SADIQ (UD Almeria)
The 24-year-old Kaduna-born player came to the limelight during the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil where he helped Nigeria to a bronze medal, scoring four goals in that tournament
Not much was heard of him after the tournament following disappointing spells in Italy, Netherland and Scotland.
He rose to the occasion again last season, scoring 6 goals for Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian SuperLiga before securing a move to Spanish tier 2 club, UD Almeria. He scored 22 goals in 41 appearances for Almeria in the 2020/2021 season.
With top clubs like Sevilla (Spain) and Bayern Munich (Germany) showing interest in the lanky forward, he’s definitely one to look out for in the upcoming season.
3) KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester City)
The 2020/2021 season was a remarkable one for the 24-year-old striker. Iheanacho enjoyed his best campaign in England since arriving in 2014, scoring 19 goals and assisting 5 others for Leicester City. Even more impressive is the fact that he scored 12 league goals between February and May, also becoming the first player to score a Premier League goal on every day of the week during the same season.
He also played a vital role in Leicester City’s FA Cup triumph, netting important goals against Southampton, Manchester United, and Brighton. Despite missing out on a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, his splendid run of form earned him a contract extension. With the upcoming season in sight, he’s definitely one to watch out for.
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2) SIMEON ‘SIMY’ NWANKWO (FC Crotone)
Simy Nwankwo had the best season of his career in 2020/2021. The 29-year old scored 20 goals in the Italian Serie A, becoming the highest scoring Nigerian in the history of the competition. He also became only the second African player, after Samuel Eto’o, to reach the 20 goal mark in a single Serie A campaign.
He became Crotone’s all-time top goalscorer, etching his name in their memories for a long time.
Although suffering the disappointment of relegation at the end of the season, it was still an amazing year for him, and with clubs like Fiorentina, Lazio and Torino all linked with a move for him, you should definitely be watching closely next season.
1) PAUL ONUACHU (KRC Genk)
The only player worthy of the number one spot is Paul Onuachu.
The 27-year-old Imo born striker scored 33 league goals for KRC Genk in 2020/2021, the most ever by a Nigerian in a single season, in Europe’s top ten leagues.
His impressive club form was backed up on the international stage where he had often been criticised, scoring in wins for the Super Eagles over Benin Republic and Lesotho.
Onuachu has drawn interest from top clubs like West Ham, Rennes and Olympique Lyonnaise among others. Whichever move he makes, he is certainly our top Nigerian player to watch out for in the 2021/2022 season.
Who are you most excited to watch in 2021/2022 ? Leave a comment or reaction below.