Chukwueze Returns to Starting XI for Villarreal

Samu Chukwueze

Having come on as a second half substitute in his sides narrow win against Granada, Super Eagles flyer Samuel Chukwueze returned to the Villarreal starting XI as they recorded a 2-2 draw against rivals Sevilla in La Liga on Monday. The 21-year-old may not have been at his rampant best, however Chukwueze was still a constant threat for the Yellow Submarines, who remain in the hunt for a top four place in the Spanish top flight. So, can one of Nigeria’s most promising talents help Villarreal in qualifying for next seasons Champions League?

Villarreal are now unbeaten in four matches since the return of La Liga, having recorded three consecutive 1-0 victories, before being held by Sevilla at the Estadio de la Ceramica. Manager Javier Calleja had previously used Chukwueze as an impact substitute against both Mallorca and Granada, however the winger, who was signed as a 17-year-old from Nigeria’s Diamond Football Academy, took to the field from the off against Sevilla, helping them to go into the break with a 2-1 lead. However, with Sevilla’s Munir El Haddadi equalising in the second half and Chukwueze ultimately being taken off with around 20 minutes remaining, the hosts were made to settle for a point. As a result, many of the leading online bookies available to players in Nigeria have the Yellow Submarine priced at around 21.0 to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Samu Chukwueze 1

Samu Chukwueze

Chukwueze on the Move?

Should Villarreal fail to finish inside the top four in Spain, speculation would likely increase surrounding the future of Chukwueze, who has been linked with moves to the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. Manager Calleja has previously said that the youngster has the potential to be world class, while Chukwueze has also received praise from teammate Santi Cazorla and former Mali international Frederic Kanoute. However, former Barcelona man Samuel Eto’o believes that he still has some way to go to reach the top, pointing towards his lack of goals in his career to date as an area of weakness.

How the Super Eagles Wonderkid Can Improve

Chukwueze scored five goals and recorded two assists during the 18/19 La Liga season, however his stats have not improved significantly, with his end product still requiring work. Chukwueze recorded the 14th fastest speed in the Spanish top flight earlier this season, clocking in at 34.58 km per hour, however it is not just his speed that has caught the attention of fans and potential suitors, with his ability on the ball also being impressive.

Chukwueze will be hoping to feature from the off once again when Villarreal host Valencia on Friday, with failure to claim all three points against Los Ches all but ruling out their chances of featuring in the Champions League next season, in what could have a significant impact on one of Nigeria’s best talents.