The transfer window in most of Europe will shut down today, but again no Nigerian player has yet to force a club to break the banks for his signatures, IKENWA NNABUOGOR wonders why…
The winter transfer window in most of Europe will draw its curtains by midnight, but no Nigerian player has attracted any bank-breaking figures from top spenders thus prolonging the much-awaited period of big-money moves by Nigerian players.
Unless top transfer prospects like Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze or Club Brugge striker Emmanuel Dennis move with the right mouth-watering figures, Nigerian players will continue to take the back seat in the world transfer market.
Other notable names have been Leicester City duo of Wilfred Ndidi and the brilliant come backing Kelechi Iheanacho, Partizan’s top marksman Sadiq Umar, Bordeaux pair of Joshua Maja and Samuel Kalu as well as uncapped Chidera Ejuke at SC Heerenveen.
Ndidi for one, has season after season remained a major transfer target for top clubs, but Leicester City have continued to hold on to their most prized jewel, regarded as the best defensive midfielder in England like a leech, thus denying Nigeria the honour of having a player with the mouth-watering millions paid for a transfer fee.
Osimhen and Chukwueze have been the most prominent transfer targets among Nigerian players with top spenders making moves from price them away from France and Spain respectively, but nothing has happened.
A recent report suggested several top clubs have set aside a staggering 80 million Euros to snap Osimhen from Lille, but that has yet to happen.
Lately, Sweden-based midfielder Yusuf Alhassan has emerged as a big-money transfer target, but the figures touted have come nowhere near the €63 million valuation of Villarreal youngster Chukwueze.
These players aside, no Nigerian has got tongues wagging as per millions for a transfer fee.
Gone are the days when Nigerian players attracted massive interests and the subsequent the big-money moves.
It can still be argued that the status quo has remained the same judging by the number of players eyed by top European clubs.
Players like Austin Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu Victor Ikpeba and Sunday Oliseh belong to the golden era of Nigerian football in the early 1990s, but none of them was adequately valued compared to the European and South American counterparts.
So, would it now safe to opine that players are yet to compete favourably with European and South American players and even other African players?
Until Chukwueze and Osimhen hit the £60 million mark, perhaps, this question may cease to beg!
The biggest transfer fee paid to any Nigerian player so far was €43 million Everton paid Arsenal for Super Eagles’ attacking midfielder Alex Nwobi.
Nwobi has struggled to keep up his current valuation needed to better his current transfer fee mark as unconvincing form and injuries have threatened to pause his once exciting career.
But Nwobi has done well enough to dump the record held by Iheanacho following his £25 million move from Manchester City two years ago.
Young, hot talents have been in short supply to Europe from Nigeria lately which has also culminated in the unimpressive performance among Nigerian players in the competitive transfer market, but with the emergency of Osinhmen, Chukwueze and Yusuf, history may well begin to be rewritten.
Until then the big question remains – where are the big-money moves by Nigerian players?