Osimhen Impressive, Iwobi Disappoints: How Nigerian Stars Rated In the 2019/2020 Season

The three months break as a result of COVID-19 caused a major disruption to football’s calendar, but last weekend matches in the Serie A concluded the 2019/2020 domestic campaigns across Europe.

The Italian top-flight was the last League to resume from the coronavirus break after the Bundesliga, La Liga and Premier League.

Last weekend saw the final round of matches played in Italy and that ended the domestic campaign across Europe’s major leagues.

The UEFA Champions League is still to be finished, though, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals set to be played as a one-legged tie in Portugal.

But with the domestic season over, Freshsports.ng rates the performances of Super Eagles stars for their respective clubs.

The rating is only for players that played over at least ten games or more, and it is on a scale of 1-10.

Maduka Okoye(Fortuna Dusseldorf II): The German-born goalkeeper kicks off the list. Okoye is tipped as future Super Eagles number one, but the 20-year-old will have to do better in goal.

Okoye played 14 times for Fortuna Dusseldorf II last season and conceded a whopping 26 times. Performances like that do not instil confidence.

Probably his move to Sparta Rotterdam will improve him. (4.5) 

William Troost Ekong (Udinese): The Nigerian vice-captain made 30 league appearances for a Udinese side that was on the other end of the table for most parts of the season.

I Bianconeri finished in lowly 13th place, but Ekong still gave a decent performance. Nonetheless, he’ll be hoping for an improved finish next season. (6.5)

Ola Aina (Torino): The versatile full-back had a mixed performance last season. Although he made 32 league appearance for a Torino side that barely escaped relegation, 20 came as starts.

His indifferent form has led to reports that he could be set for a move back to England. (6)

Jamilu Collins (Paderborn): The Super Eagles left-back suffered the disappointment of relegation with his Paderborn side, but he was one of the shining lights in Steffen Baumgart’s team.

Only Sebastian Andersson won more duels (503) than Jamilu Collins (416) in the German top-flight last season. The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to English clubs, and it’s hard to see him staying in Germany’s second division next season (7.5)

Kenneth Omeruo(Leganes): Omeruo joined Leganes permanently at the start of last season after spending the previous campaign on loan from Chelsea.

However, it was a disappointing campaign for Omeruo as Los Pepineros suffered relegation on the final day. The Nigerian international made 23 appearances in the League, scoring one goal.

He also had the honour of leading the team out on one occasion. But despite that, it was a disappointing campaign for the former Middlesbrough defender (5)

Chidozie Awaziem(Leganes): Chidozie Aawaziem was also part of the Leganes side that could not beat the drop- although he was on loan from Porto.

Awaziem was more impressive than Omeruo, and it was rewarded with a nomination for the club’s player of the season.

The former Nantes defender made 26 appearances for Leganes and played another three times in the Copa Del Rey. (7)

Semi Ajayi(West Brom): Semi was Nigeria’s best defender and one of the country’s best players last season. He joined the Baggies from Rotherham at the beginning of the just-concluded season.

While some players take some time to settle at a new club, Semi had no such problems, playing a massive role in West Brom’s promotion to the top-flight.

The 26-year-old was a rock in Slaven Bilic’s defence while his aerial prowess was also a threat from set-pieces. He made 43 appearances in the Championship, scoring five times from a centre-back position to help West Brom back to the Premier League. (8)

Leon Balogun (Brighton/Wigan): Balogun had a disappointing spell at Brighton, and it ended when he joined Wigan on loan.

The 32-year-old failed to make a single Premier League appearance in the first half of the season and was shipped out to Wigan in January.

His fortunes changed at the DW Stadium as he was offered regular game time. He impressed with the Latics, making 11 appearances at the club.

Although he did not extend his stay at Wigan due to the club’s relegation, his performance was enough for Rangers to sign him on a one-year deal. (5)

Oghenekaro Etebo(Getafe/Stoke): Etebo started the season with Stoke City, but had to go out on loan in January.

The former Warri Wolves was afforded limited opportunities at the Brittania Stadium due to injuries and loss of form.

However, he was offered an escape route when Getafe decided to take him on loan. Although he impressed a little in Spain, it was not still enough for the Spanish side to sign him permanently. (5)

Joe Aribo (Rangers): Aribo joined Rangers on a free transfer at the start of last campaign, and it did not take long before he announced himself.

The 23-year-old did not find it hard settling in at his new club, scoring in just his second game. He would go on to make 46 appearances, scoring nine times and recording eight assists.

His displays earned him Rangers Young Player of the Season, while his effort against Braga was picked as the goal of the season. (8)

Wilfred Ndidi(Leicester City): Ndidi would be a shoo-in to earn the accolade of Nigeria’s best player in Europe if not for Osimhen.

The former Genk player played a vital role in a Leicester City side that only missed out on a top-four spot on the final day.

Only Declan Rice had more interceptions than Ndidi, while the Nigerian rank joint first with Wan-Bissaka in the number of tackles won in the Premier League.

The Super Eagles star absence was felt when he was out due to injury with Leicester picking up just two points from a possible 15.

It remains to be seen if the Foxes will be able to keep him beyond this season. (8.5)

Alex Iwobi(Everton): When Iwobi swapped London for Merseyside, it was believed the move would give him more freedom to express himself on the pitch.

However, a year after, nothing has changed with Iwobi. In fact, aside from his opening three games at the club, the Nigerian was just a passenger in games- although he played out wide for most times.

At 24-years, he’s running out of time to fulfil the potential he showed when he broke into Arsenal’s first team. (4.5)

Kelechi Iheanacho(Leicester City):  Iheanacho also had a rollercoaster season. The former Super Eagles golden boy had a difficult start to the season as he did not make an appearance in the Premier League until December.

However, his fortunes changed when he was brought on in Leicester’s win against Everton at the start of December.

With Foxes trailing by a lone goal, Iheanacho came on for Ayoze Perez, and the Nigerian set up Jamie Vardy’s equaliser before scoring the winner.

He would go on to make 20 appearances in the League, scoring five times and providing four assists. He also scored four times in the League Cup and once in the FA Cup. (7)

Emmanuel Dennis(Club Brugge): One of the few Nigerian stars that won a league title in Europe. The 22-year-old played his part in Club Brugge’s title win- although the Belgian top-flight ended early due to the coronavirus.

The Nigerian international played 33 games for Brugge, scoring nine goals and registering two assists. The highlight of his season came when he scored a brace against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. (6)

Paul Onuachu(Genk): The lanky striker signed for Genk from Midtjylland last summer. Although he could’ve done better in terms of performance, he still managed to score nine times in the League, and one more in cup competitions.

He would hope to improve his numbers next season, but he faces competition from his countryman, Cyriel Dessers. (6)

Cyriel Dessers(Heracles): Dessers is yet to make his debut for Nigeria, but he showed glimpses of what fans can expect from him.

The former Utrecht striker finished as the joint top scorer in the Dutch top-flight last season with 15 goals. It was not just about goals from as he also contributed five assists.

In fact, Dessers had a hand in 50% of the goals Heracles scored last season. It made Genk pay 5m euros for his services (8)

Anthony Nwakaeme(Trabzonspor): Nwakaeme must have been disappointed with the way Trabzonspor faltered in the title race, but he would be satisfied with his performance.

The former Hapoel Beer Sheva striker scored 11 times in the Super Lig, while he also three strikes in other competitions. He also had a hand in 11 goals in all competitions.

While Trabzonspor did not win the league title, they can take consolation from the Turkish Cup they won. (7.5)

Simy Nwankwo(Crotone): The lanky striker finished as the top scorer in the Serie B with 20 goals. And it helped his Crotone side gain promotion back to the top division. (8)

Moses Simon(Nantes): He only came on loan, but Simon turned out to be Nantes best player, and that earned him a permanent deal.

The former Gent player joined Les Canaries on loan from Levante but signed a four-year deal at the end of the campaign.

This was as a result of his performances which saw him score nine times and eight assists in 33 games. (8)

Victor Osimhen(Lille): Nigeria’s best player last season. When Osimhen joined Lille, there were still doubts about his abilities even though he just scored 20 goals in 36 games for Royal Charleroi.

However, he showed he’s the real deal in his first game for Lille, scoring twice in the win over Nantes. The former Wolfsburg striker went on to score 16 times again to finish as Les Douges highest scorer.

Following his extraordinary season, a host of clubs were interested in his services, but it was Napoli that eventually won the race for his services, paying an African record fee of 80m euros. (9)

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