Interest in the English Premier League in Nigeria is bigger than ever, with a number of Super Eagles players now stepping up preparations ahead of the new season. However, just how did such names perform during the 19/20 campaign? Let’s take a look at how the five Nigerian players fared in what is widely regarded as the most entertaining league in the world.
Wilfred Ndidi: Leicester City
Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi had another impressive campaign for Leicester City, despite the Foxes ultimately missing out on a place in the Champions League after a final day defeat against Manchester United. The 23-year-old was one of Leicester’s most consistent players, finishing the season as the Premier League’s joint-top tackler, with 129 successful tackles. Ndidi played a total of 32 Premier League games during the season, 29 of which came as a starter, demonstrating his importance to manager Brendan Rodgers, with the games he did miss being as a result of injury. As a result of his performances, Ndidi continues to be linked with a move away from Leicester, however it would appear likely that he stays for at least one more season. Should he do so, odds of 9.00 from bookie Betway for the Foxes to finish inside the top 4 next season could be well worth taking advantage of.
Ndidi’s teammate for both club and country is Kelechi Iheanacho, with the striker having improved upon his opening two seasons at Leicester. Developing a good understanding with Premier League golden boot winner Jamie Vardy, Iheanacho still struggled in front of goal at times, however he is clearly an important player for the Foxes. The former Manchester City academy player helped Leicester in reaching the League Cup semi-finals, while he scored important goals against the likes of Everton and Crystal Palace upon the Premier League’s return after lockdown.
After moving from Arsenal to Everton for big money last summer, it was a frustrating season for Iwobi, despite the attacking midfielder scoring tow goals in his first three games for his new club. The fact that Everton struggled for consistency did not help his cause, with the arrival of new manager Carlo Ancelotti having limited his playing time also. The biggest complaint from Nigerian football fans surrounding Iwobi has been his end product, with the 24-year-old facing a big season ahead, especially with the 2021 African Cup of Nations in mind, a tournament in which the Super Eagles are one of the favourites with the bookies.
It was another season to forget for Isaac Success, with the forward having made just five substitute appearances in all competitions for a Watford side that was eventually relegated to the Championship. Having now been in England for four years, Success may well look for a new challenge and regular game time following his time in North London, with teams in Belgium having already made their interest clear.
After signing for his favourite team in Manchester United in January, Odion Ighalo will undoubtedly have enjoyed his time at Old Trafford, even if he perhaps did not receive as many opportunities as expected. The well-travelled striker performed well in the Europa League for United, however 11 substitute appearances in the Premier League failed to produce anything significant. The former Super Eagle did do enough to ensure that United extended his spell with the club until January 2021 however, meaning that we will see more from Ighalo in red in the coming months.