Nigerian players who ply their trade in the English Premier League will be on parade as the 2015/2016 season gets underway this afternoon. IKENNA OKONKWO runs the rule over some of the lads.
Odion Jude Ighalo Aged 26, was among players that fought hard to ensure that Watford FC gained promotion to the England top flight side, English Premier League.
Despite advances by clubs from other leagues, the former U-20 Nigeria player resolved to stay back with the English club he joined on a season-long loan from Udinese of Italy in 2014.
He has since been re-signed on a permanent deal from Udinese after he was released from his contract. Goals and more goals are only what the former Prime FC and Julius Berger striker has been craving while featuring for his club side this season after he ended last season with 20 in 28 appearances.
John Mikel Obi
John Mikel Obi is one Nigerian player who has stayed put with Chelsea FC since 2006. He actually joined the Blues from Lyn Oslo after he moved over to Europe in 2004 from Plateau United.
Born on 1987, speculations were high over his possible move from the London club to Dubai but that was put to rest after his coach Jose Mourinho preferred to still include him in his squad, hoping to defend the premier title they won in the last soccer campaign.
Though his defensive midfield role has been under threat since the arrival of teammate Nemanja Matic, Mikel appears to be comfortable with bit role from the bench.
However, Mikel was part of Chelsea’s pre season’s tour, and was also a substitute in the side that lost the Community Shield to Arsenal a week ago in Wembley.
A new kid in the block, Kelechi Iheanacho began his journey to stardom with Manchester City after he showed flashes of a player with great potentials during FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2014, Iheanacho signed for City. Before the 2014–15 season, Manchester City visited the USA on a pre-season tour. Though still not formally a Manchester City player, Iheanacho joined up with the squad. He played and scored in the first match of the tour, a 4–1 win against Sporting Kansas City and scored again against AC Milan in a 5-1 win. After the conclusion of the tour, Manchester City arranged for Iheanacho to train with Columbus Crew until mid-October.
In July 2015, he was also included in City’s pre-season tour team in Australia. On the tour, he set up the first goal for Raheem Sterling against Roma and scored the second goal in the win against Roma in the 2015 International Champions Cup. He also scored in Man City’s 5-1 demolition by FC Stuttgart last Saturday. His inclusion into City’s main squad this season after Dzeko joined Roma could mean that the former Taye academy player would be handed the real English test.
After loan moves to Liverpool and Stoke City in the last two seasons, Victor Moses is now back with parent club Chelsea FC. He appears set for the big challenge ahead of the new season which begins this weekend with 20 league clubs in contention.
His experience with Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace earlier in his career is expected to prove superb for him this time after injury held him spell bound towards the end of last season.
Brown Ideye is still staying with West Bromich Albion after featuring for the England club side last year.
The Nigerian-born player who made a surprise move from Dynamo Kiev to West Brom cut the eyes of many last season in some of the games though experienced a difficult start.
He signed a three-year deal with English Premier League club to become the club’s record signing at a fee reported as £10 million. The contract included an option in the club’s favour for an extra year. He was assigned the number 9 shirt. The new season certainly presents a fresh start for the Nigerian international that once played for Ocean Boys and Bayelsa United.
Currently being scouted by new Super Eagles Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh, Jordon Ibe seems to have stamped his place with his club Liverpool after former teammate Rahem Sterling who joined Man City few weeks ago.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Ibe as a player with a “bright footballing brain” who has the versatility to play as a winger on either flank, as a playmaker or as a striker
Osaze Odemwingie born on 1981 is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward and winger for Premier League club Stoke City.
Due to injury, the versatile player had it rough especially towards the end of last season.
After all, the Nigerian player is back and is ready to dazzle again even though he declared that he was not fully fit about a week ago.
Victor Anichebe (born 23 April 1988) is plays for West Bromwich Albion. He has been described as a fast and powerful player, in the mould of a “traditional” centre forward; He has played on the right of midfield as well, though.
Anichebe playing together with Ideye was born in Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria but moved to Liverpool, aged one, his family originally living in Toxteth before settling in Crosby.