Nigeria has always been known as the talent hub in Africa when it comes to football, and this is another season that top Nigerian players have made headlines. The season isn’t over yet but a number of Nigerian players are already making big headlines in various leagues across Europe. In the Italian Serie A, a Nigerian is on hand for a new record; in the Premier League’s survival race, a team’s hopes rest on a Nigerian player’s shoulders; in Spain, a Nigerian player is key in the push for a top four finish and in France a Nigerian youngster has broken out well, showing his real prowess.
At the moment, very few headlines can be made about Italian football and miss Victor Osimhen’s name. The Nigerian forward is featuring prominently after his superb season so far in the Italian top flight with his team, Napoli. Osimhen is on course to becoming the first African to finish as the leading scorer in the Italian Serie A. He is on 19 goals so far
Napoli are in the hunt for their first Serie A title in 33 years and with every weekend football prediction, it is no longer a surprise to have bookmakers on Wincomparator tipping the team to win. When Napoli last became Italian champions, the legendary Diego Maradona finished as the lead scorer in the league. This is a status Osimhen could achieve at the end of this season with Napoli currently 15 points clear.
The Italian Serie A is a bedrock of talent though not many Nigerians have risen from it. However, Ademola Lookman, in his first season at Atalanta, has looked every inch like the player who can match Osimhen’s exploits in the league. He seems settled now, after recent loan spells that saw him play at Everton and Leicester City. With 12 goals in the Serie A so far, Lookman has been a key player for the Bergamo outfit, and another Nigerian doing well abroad.
Alex Iwobi hasn’t had the greatest of seasons in the English Premier League. He hasn’t commanded the numbers his mates in the Italian league have done, but remains a key element in the Everton team. Everton is battling relegation and Iwobi is already under the tutelage of his third manager at the club. Having maintained a first team berth under all the managers says a lot about his exploits. He has six assists so far this season and if Everton were to pull the great escape, Iwobi staying fit is very key.
In the 26 matches Everton have played, Iwobi has started all. He has just one goal but his contribution to Everton has been immense. If the Toffees fail in their survival bid, Iwobi will surely get a top flight deal somewhere.
Another top Nigerian player is Samuel Chukwueze who has matured well at Spanish La Liga side, Villarreal. Chukwueze has grown into the Villarreal set up and just like Iwobi, he is not scoring a lot of goals but remains a valuable asset to the Yellow Submarine. With a Europa League medal and enough experience, Chukwueze could be the difference in Villarreal’s chase for a top four spot.
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