Nigerian Football Stars Hit The Ground Running In Europe
As the European leagues continue to gain traction, Nigerian football stars within various European teams are gradually finding their groove. However, a handful of them have already hit the ground running with their respective clubs.
Akor Adams (Montpellier)
Coming from Norway’s Lillestrøm, former U-20 striker Adams caught the eye with his epic unveiling by Montpellier, who linked up with former Super Eagles winger John Utaka to announce their new man.
Adams then announced his arrival to the French Ligue 1 in style, as he netted a brace on his debut, before scoring again in their 4-1 win over Lyon. His brace against Le Havre made him the first Montpellier player to score two goals in his first league game, as well as recording the fastest brace in the French topflight with just 42 seconds between his goals, according to OPTA.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)
Still half fit, according to his coach Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest striker Awoniyi is not looking like a player holding anything back with two goals in two Premier League games.
The Nigerian began the season from where he stopped last term, finishing off a superb team move in their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League, before grabbing his second of the season in their 2-1 win over Sheffield United last Friday. The striker, who scored 10 goals last season to help Forest escape relegation, is already up and running again this season.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Although now playing in the Championship, Ndidi has started life at Leicester this season with ease, unlike last season when the Foxes struggled from start to finish.
Safe to say the Nigerian is now focused on helping the former Premier League champions return to the English topflight as he has also returned to his midfield role, having played as a makeshift centre-back for most parts of last season. The midfielder, as well as his compatriot, Kelechi Iheanacho, have scored one goal each for Leicester in the EFL Cup this season.
Jordan Torunarigha (Gent)
Being a defender sets Torunarigha apart from other players. The 26-year-old has been solid for Gent in their four-week-old campaign in the league, as well as their quest to qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League.
He has started three of their games in the league and came off the bench in the last one against St.Truiden to find the net and help them record a 2-2 draw at home.
Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea)
Coming off the back of 14 appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, Chukwuemeka has steadily established himself as a force in the Blues midfield this season, before being injured in their 3-1 defeat to West Ham on Sunday.
The midfielder rewarded coach Mauricio Pochettino’s fate in him in their opening two games with a goal in the 29th minute against the Hammers.
After undergoing surgery, he will be out for up to six weeks and will definitely return to rival big money arrivals Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia for a place in the midfield.
Samuel Omorodion (Atletico Madrid)
Now touted as the new ‘Samu’ in LaLiga following the departure of his namesake and compatriot Samuel Chukwueze to AC Milan, Omorodion announced his arrival in the Spanish La Liga after scoring for Granada in their 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Twenty-four hours later, he was snapped up by the Colchoneros and other clubs are already queuing to get his signature on loan from the Wanda Metropolitano.
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Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
There is no price for guessing Osimhen as one of the early bloomers in Europe, even before a ball was kicked.
Highest goal scorer in the Serie A last season with 26 goals, Osimhen picked up the 2023/24 campaign from where he stopped last season with two goals on the opening weekend against newly promoted Frosinone.
For a player that has been a subject of big money transfers this summer, he made a huge statement with his brace and it will be interesting to see how Napoli settle his future as the transfer window nears an end.
Gift Orban (Gent)
Belgium Pro League scoring sensation Orban is another subject of transfer speculation, with Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham battling for his signature as a replacement to their high-profile departures in Harry Kane and Alexandre Mitrovic respectively.
Orban has four goals in three UEFA Conference League playoffs games this season, including a hat-trick in their 5-0 mauling of Polish club Pogon Szczecin on August 9.
He also has two goals in the league despite sitting out of some of their action.