The 2020/2019 Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, September 12, 2020, with five Nigerian players to observe out for.
Ahead of the season, we glance at the state of those players and what we should always expect from them within the coming season. For clarity, only Nigerian internationals are mentioned during this article which takes the likes of Crystal Palace star Ebere Eze.
Victor Moses has been left out of this piece thanks to the uncertainty over where he will play next season.
When Everton splashed £40 million on Alex Iwobi from Arsenal, it had been expected that the Nigerian midfielder would fulfill his potential at the less-pressured abode of Goodison Park but after his debut season with the Toffees, the 24-year-old has left everyone with doubts that have come to define his career thus far.
The numbers say it all. Just four goals and one assist in 24 appearances in all competitions show that Iwobi has not delivered as expected.
Alex Iwobi <Everton>
But what went wrong? Injuries, playing in a team that wasn’t good enough, the chaos of working under different managers, and his inability to raise his game. After a fine start at Everton, everything worked against Iwobi. He was consistently played on the wings where it’s now proven he can’t deliver to the best of his ability.
His struggles might continue this season. With the Everton’s heavy investment in midfield-they have brought it in Allan from Napoli, Abdoulaye Doucouré from midfield and waning heavyweight James Rodriguez- Iwobi isn’t expected to urge any look in midfield.
Hopes of his sophomore season at Everton being better than his debut will rest on his ability to boost his game and deliver at any role he’s giving.
Wilfred Ndidi <Leicester City>
Kelechi Iheanacho remains a Leicester City player on the eve of the kickoff of the new Premier League season. Nobody would have believed on the first day of December 2019.
It’s a testament to how he has turned his Leicester City career around with some fantastic performances. It started with a home game against Everton on Sunday, December 1, 2019.
Premier League game all season, Iheanacho was introduced within the 62nd minute with Leicester City down 1-0 at home to Everton.
Making his impact, the Nigerian assisted the equalizer and scored the winner.
He got his first Premier League start of the season in Leicester City’s next game and grabbed a goal and an assist.
This season, the 23-year-old has to consolidate on his position now at Leicester City and deliver more fine performances.
Odion Ighalo <Manchester United>
Ighalo joined Manchester United in January 2019 and caught the eyes with some fine performances in cup games. In 11 Premier League games, however, he failed to score some important goals for Manchester United.
Not much is expected of the 31-year-old who is expected to continue his bit-part role at Manchester United before his contract expires in December.
Ola Aina <Fulham>
Although he was never a prodigious talent, Ola Aina showed that he had something when he made it out of Chelsea academy.
On loan from Chelsea within the 2018/2019 season, the Nigerian defender impressed at Torino where he played predominantly as a left wing-back.
His second season in Italy wasn’t that good and that may need to prompt the desire for a change.
The 23-year-old is now back in London after joining Fulham on a loan deal and can be looking to impress to assist them to remain within the Premier League and obtain a permanent deal.
Aina has what it’ll take to be fine in the Premier League. With a decent pace, the defender has often been admired for doing the fundamentals and straightforward things on the pitch.
That might help him have close to a decent season with Fulham.