Eagle Eye View

By Oz Idemudia for REPLAY NGA

With a new football season about to kick off across Europe, we want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the upcoming promising Nigerian talents who we hope to see featuring across Europe. I assure you, these guys are certainly ones to keep an eye on.

Bukayo saka

Born in England, Saka is of Nigerian descent. Saka has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 level. On 4 September 2020, Saka made his debut for England U21s during a 6-0 victory away to Kosovo. Now alot of people might already know much about this player who slowly came up the arsenal ranks 2 seasons ago. But it was the previous season that really drew a light to him. Putting up a of number dazzling performances. Now although he is originally a winger, he was used is a make shift left back more often. But with the start of the new season coming he has been given the Jersey number 7 at arsenal, which means we might get to see him play higher up the field in more preferred positions. Finishing the previous season with 4 goals and 12 assists, he’s only expected to go on and get better with this new season.

Victor Osimhen

After enjoying a stellar season at the French ligue 1 side Lille last season, the 21 year old completed a big money move to Italian outfit S.S.C Napoli, in a deal that saw him become the clubs highest earner. I mean except a more high-profile player joins Napoli, Osimhen will be the highest-paid player at Napoli, With the 21 earrn €4m to €4.5m annually which 1-year-old striker set to approximately gets him €93, 750 per week. This just goes to show how highly rated he already is as a player across Europe and the world. He is known for his electrifying pace and efficient finishing. The Nigerian takes Known for almost all of his shots from inside the box, choosing different positions all around the box to have a shot at goal. That’s a box striker if we’ve ever seen one, dangerous from out to in with the ability to shoot from different angles making him incredibly difficult to predict. He’s also been shown to be incredibly dangerous from the air. With a hattrick already in his first couple of friendly games with his new team its really not hard to see why big things are expected of this kid.

Eberechi Eze

Dazzling dribbler, a decent set-piece taker, long range shooter and an ability to retain and carry the ball, this talented youngster is proving to be one of the most exciting prospects for the next season. After enjoying a great personal campaign last year with English championship side Queens Park Rangers, the young midfielder was sort after by a couple of top flight clubs, but eventually ended up completing a move worth a Little in excess of £19.5 million to premier league side Crystal Palace Scoring 14 goals and contributing 8 assists to his teams league performance last season, and also getting personal achievements like being the youngest player to score 20 league goals for QPR since Adel Taarabt, the Youngest QPR player to reach 100 apps since lan Dawes in 1984 Youngest player to start every league game in a season for QPR since ian Dawes in 83/84 not to mention the clubs who were all after him, its safe to say that he is one who great things are expected of. And certainly would be one to keep an eye out for next season and the future as well.

Folarin Balogun

Born in New your city in 2001, the 19 year old moved to England, where he started out playing his trade with Sunday League side Aldersbrook, Balogun took part in trials across London, most notably with Tottenham, Kind of like a reverse Harry Kane, if you will. While all the clubs he tried out for saw promise, Balogun eventually opted to join Arsenal at the age of ten, and the rest as they say is history. Balogun is an instinctive striker and clinical finisher with either foot consistently finding the bottom corners with power and precision. He has also displayed quick feet, blistering pace and excellent movement to run in behind defences. But Arsenal are spoilt for choice in the striker department with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli all ahead of Balogun in the pecking order. Although there were talks of a possible move at some point seeing as the teenager feels he has come of age to be playing in the big leagues, he has continued to play with the arsenal u21s, scoring a goal in their 2-1 victory over Ipswich Town. This is certainly one to keep an eye out for.

Samuel Chukwueze

Now last but not least. In truth, 2018 was Chukwueze’s breakout calendar year, and 2019 has been a year of consolidation and of fuelling expectation. The wideman made his Nigeria debut in November 2018, earned himself a spot in the Afcon squad half a year later, and excelled in Egypt, troubling full-backs aplenty and scoring in the quarter final victory over South Africa. At club level, with Villarreal, he continues to be one of Nigeria’s most prominent performers in a major European league, despite only being 20 and is currently in the Top 15 in the Spanish top flight for completed dribbles per match for as of last season. This kid is one who a lot of people hold in high regard and expect to be a top level player someday. Under new management at Villarreal and a new season on the horizon, many hope he can not only keep the hype from previous seasons, but improve on what we all know to be nothing short of pure footballing talent.

As a Nigerian, I am excited for the future of these players and how it could go a long way to booster our national side. Yes I know, a couple of them were born and even play for other counties, but they are yet to represent the sides on the senior level and that just means one thing, we have a chance to convince and get them to represent our/their country. So like I said, maybe keep an eye out for these boys, and I promise you, hopefully you wouldn’t be disappointed.