A number of Super Eagles were on the move this summer. But who struck the best deal?…
As the dust settles on another frantic summer transfer window, in which world records were smashed to smithereens, the tone of conversation violently shifts from assumption to analysis.
How will he do there? Have they spent too much? Too little? Overpaid? Underpaid? Didn’t pay at all? Is he good enough? Is he too good? Is he worth that? Have we got him for peanuts? Is he a statement of intent? Ambition? Can 14 new signings all gel in time? Why didn’t we sign anyone? Why did he go there? How did they get him?
Questions that will be poked, prodded, dissected and investigated with a fine tooth comb in the intervening months between clubs shutting up shop on September 2 and rolling up the shutters on January 1.
Gareth Bale is sure to monopolise an enormous percentage of any discussion (one drawback to being the worlds most expensive footballer, I presume), while mentions of Mesut Ozil, Marouane Fellaini and the rest will surely creep in at regularly timed intervals.
But here at fanatix we don’t want to bore you with an inevitable, mundane Bale symposium. Instead, we’re looking further afield to a country that has produced some memorable players down the years and a few that have graced some of the finest leagues in Europe.
Yes, some of the top Nigerian players were on the move this summer and we’ve selected the top five for you to indulge.
1. Victor Moses: Chelsea to Liverpool – loan
If there was ever a sign that Moses was going to be frozen out at Chelsea this season it was the sight of Juan Mata perched on the substitutes bench. If the Blues player of the season for two successive years can’t even muscle in amongst the plethora of attacking midfielders housed in Jose Mourinho’s squad – what chance does Moses have?
But instead of moping and rotting in the reserves, the 22-year-old made the wise choice to join Liverpool on a season-long loan, where he’ll be granted infinitely more opportunitues to flex his muscles in the first-team.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers paid a relatively modest £1 million fee to bring the AFCON 2013 hero to Anfield and he should slot in well on either flank, providing a power and directness that will make the Merseyside club a greater attacking threat.
2. Michael Eneramo: Sivasspor to Besiktas – free transfer
This is a huge career step up for the powerful Nigeria striker as he joins one of Turkey’s most decorated clubs after two prolific seasons with perennial mid-table dwellers Sivasspor.
Moving to Besiktas for on a free transfer removes the risk factor for both the Black Eagles and Enemaro. The 27-year-old will surely benefit from not having the burden of a huge transfer fee weighing on his mind.
Yet, there will still be an onus on him to find the back of the net on a regular basis after smashing in 29 goals in 77 games Sivasspor and ultimately justifying his €1.3 million-a-year salary that comes with a regular €10k match bonus.
3. Emmanuel Emenike: Spartak Moscow to Fenerbahce – €13 million
The biggest transfer fee accrued by any Nigerian player this summer was the €13 million Fenerbache splashed out to prise Emenike away from Russian club Spartak Moscow.
Unlike international compatriot Enemaro, the pressure is on the prolific 26-year-old to hit the ground running and prove the Turkish Super Lig runners-up were right to bring him back to the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium at such an expense.
Emenike initially joined the Canaries in 2011 for €9m but was caught up in a match-fixing scandal and packed off to Russia €10m before he even played a match for the club – becoming the first man ever to do so. A two-year spell at Spartak saw him repair a damaged reputation and earn a return to Fenerbache.
However, the question remains; can he repay the club and it’s fans after they were banned from participating in the Champions League? The jury is out.
4. Peter Odemwingie: West Brom to Cardiff – £2.5 million
After the farcical nature of his attempts to engineer a January transfer to QPR, that included him turning up uninvited to the London club;s training ground, Odemwingie was finally granted an escape route from his West Brom hell.
Joining newly-promoted Cardiff might not have been the move the 32-year-old had in mine, but they offered him the chance to continue his career in the Premier League and he was wise enough to seize it. Not to mention the opportunity to prove his critics wrong.
Of course, at £2.5m, there is no doubt the Welsh club have picked up a bargain and a striker whose goals and experience could conceivably keep them in England’s top-flight. After all, Odemwingie did just that for the Baggies, previously considered a yo-yo club at the rate in which they were swapped decisions on a season-by-season basis. They just have to keep him sweet.
5. Victor Anichebe: Everton to West Brom – £6 million
Albeit a surprise mover on transfer deadline day, the chance to start afresh clearly appealed to Anichebe after an unfulfilled seven-year spell at Everton.
Injuries plagued his time at Goodison Park and prevented him from ever stringing a consistent run of games together, but when he did play his talent was obvious to the naked eye. Physically imposing, powerful, direct and occasionally deadly. An ideal lone frontman to fill the Romelu Lukaku-sized hole at West Brom. Coincidentally, the young Belgian is doing the same for Anichebe on Merseyside.
The 25-year-old is showing signs of shrugging off his ‘sick-note’ tag after managing 32 appearances last season – his best total since he played 41 times in 2007/08 – and scoring eight goals. In a new environment, a new team and working under a new manager this could finally be the setting for Anichebe to realise his potential.
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