Five Nigerian players expected to move before close of transfer window
The summer transfer window for the year 2023 has seen some Nigerian players such as Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Boniface, Kenneth Omeruo, Josh Maja, and Akor Adams join new clubs.
With the window set to close on Friday, September 1, Guardian Sports takes a look at five Nigerian players likely to change clubs.
Gift Orban (Gent, Belgium)
Gift Orban is one Nigerian player who is likely to still move this summer, having had a good campaign with KAA Gent of Belgium in the second half of the 2022/23 season.
Fulham have set their sights on Orban as a like-for-like replacement for Serbian striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic who joined Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia for a reported £46million.
The Cottagers are ready to challenge Tottenham Hotspur for the signing of Orban whom Spurs see as a direct replacement for Harry Kane who joined Bayern Munich earlier this month.
Orban was the highest scoring Nigerian in Europe during the 2022/23 season after scoring a total of 38 goals in 45 games for Stabaek of Norway and Gent in Belgium.
He had scored 18 goals in 23 matches across all competitions for Stabaek before departing the Norwegian league club for Belgian First Division A club, Gent in the winter transfer window.
The explosive Orban scored 15 goals in 16 league matches since joining Gent only in January. The 21-year-old also scored 20 goals in 22 games in all competitions for Gent.
He scored six goals in four play-off games and bagged nine goals in the regular league season. Also in last season’s UEFA Europa Conference League, Orban had five goals in six games.
This season, Orban has a tally of six goals in six games and as the Nigerian still has four years left on his contract at Ghelamco Arena, Gent are likely to demand big money for their trigger-happy hotshot.
Emmanuel Dennis (Nottingham Forest, England)
Emmanuel Dennis might after all get to make his third consecutive summer move before the end of the current transfer window with reports linking the forward with an exit from Nottingham Forest.
Leeds United are preparing to make a first bid for the Nottingham Forest forward as they have found life difficult in the SkyBet Championship, according to Nottingham Forest News.
It is stated that Dennis is on Leeds ‘list of primary targets’ this summer as they seek a new attacker as Patrick Bamford struggled last season and Rodrigo may well be on the move following their relegation.
The Whites will need a couple of new attackers to really have a go at promotion and Dennis may well be given an escape route to Leeds this summer after he fell out of favour under Forest manager, Steve Cooper.
Forest pounced to land Dennis in a £20million swoop last summer following Watford’s relegation to the Championship. Recall he had impressed for the Hornets, bagging 10 goals and six assists in 33 EPL appearances in 2021/22.
The hope was that Dennis would be able to replicate those numbers for Forest but it just didn’t happen. Dennis managed just six league starts last season and just 715 Premier League minutes in total.
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)
Kelechi Iheanacho has also been linked with a summer transfer with reports saying that Nottingham Forest had made plans to hold further talks with the Nigerian forward.
That move, however, failed to see the light of day with Iheanacho now being heavily linked with a late summer transfer to Premier League side, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves are interested in signing Iheanacho, according to talkSPORT which has reported that the Nigerian striker is valued at around £20 million by the East Midlands club.
Gary O’Neil needs a striker following Raul Jimenez’s move to Fulham but with just two days of the summer window remaining, any deal for Iheanacho would have to move fast.
Iheanacho emerged Leicester City’s Player Of The Season in 2022/23, becoming the first Nigerian to win the award despite the club suffering relegation from the Premier League.
The Super Eagles attacker did well for himself last season as he bagged five goals and five assists in 28 Premier League appearances despite playing the major part of the season as a substitute.
He also struck the back of the net on three occasions in as many FA Cup matches, taking his total to eight goals across all competitions for the now-relegated Foxes.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England)
Wilfred Ndidi has been strongly linked with a summer transfer with multiple reports saying that Nottingham Forest have agreed personal terms with the Nigerian midfielder.
If completed, the Leicester City star will be joining his fellow Nigerian compatriots, Taiwo Awoniyi, Ola Aina and Emmanuel Dennis at Forest, according to Talk Forest TV.
Whilst talks over a deal for Brennan Johnson are ongoing, it appears that Forest are intent on strengthening their squad further and are keen on raiding Leicester for Ndidi.
He has been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium following the Foxes’ relegation from the Premier League and has one year remaining on his deal with Leicester.
While Saudi Arabian clubs have reportedly offered tempting deals, the tough-tackling defensive midfielder still has more to offer in Europe and could be back to the EPL soon.
Valued at €60m as at June 15, 2022, Ndidi has lost €35m in market value as he is now worth only €25m, interpreting an almost 60 percent loss in value in a little above one year.
Alex Iwobi (Everton, England)
Ahead of Friday’s deadline for the summer transfer, Nigeria and Everton midfielder, Alex Iwobi has been linked with a move to London-based Premier League club, Fulham.
According to Sky Sports, Fulham are in talks with Everton over the signing Iwobi who has entered the final year of his contract at Goodison Park.
Fulham will hope to sign Iwobi to bolster their attack following the departure of Serbian international, Aleksandar Mitrovic to Saudi Arabia club, Al-Hilal.
Sky Sports reported that a Premier League club and a club outside England have also expressed interest in the Nigerian international.
A move to Fulham will see Iwobi reunite with Marco Silva who was his manager at Everton. Meanwhile, Iwobi is currently out with an injury.
He sustained the injury in Everton’s 4-0 loss to Aston Villa at Villa Park. He could become teammate with Calvin Bassey who joined Fulham from Ajax earlier this summer.
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