Nigeria’s finest Premier League talent

From the long and lanky Nwankwo Kanu to the dazingly skillful Jay-Jay Okocha, Nigeria has produced some truly exceptional talent through the decades.

An incredible 38 Nigerians have played in England’s Premier League, but which were the best?

Here, we’ll show you some of the finest to grace the elite division…

Nwankwo Kanu

Kanu, who many regard as the nation’s greatest player, experienced success throughout Europe, lifting three Eredivisie titles and a Champions League at Ajax, the UEFA cup at Inter Milan and three league titles with Arsenal.

The striker racked up 87 national caps and took over the captaincy from Okocha in 2006 for four years.

John Obi Mikel

Mikel, born in Jos, experienced a long, fruitful and trophy laden career at Chelsea.

Now plying his trade in China with Tianjin TEDA, the Nigeria captain won every domestic trophy with Chelsea, including a Champions League and two league titles.

Mikel was pivotal in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph in 2013 and is regarded as a national footballing legend.

Joseph Yobo

The Super Eagles’ joint most capped player with 101, his big break at club level came when he was brought to Belgium to play for Standard Liege, where he played from 1998 through to 2001.

He then moved to France to play for Marseille, before finally arriving in England on loan to Premier League side Everton.

The spell was soon made permanent and is fondly remembered for his reliability and consistency by Goodison Park fans.

Jay-Jay Okocha

So good they named him twice, he was blessed with exceptional technique.

The former Fenerbahce and PSG player soon earned the reputation as a showman on arrival to England after the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002.

Wowing crowds up and down the country throughout his time in England, he guided Bolton Wanderers to a historic League Cup final in 2004.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Iheanacho shook the Premier League with his breakthrough campaign with Manchester City last term, and looks as though he’ll have an exceptional future under Pep Guardiola and for the national the national team.

Iheanacho has represented Nigeria at youth levels from under-13 upwards and now boasts an impressive strike record, scoring four in his first seven senior international appearances.

Read his statistics, such as the ones available at sites like Betway Sports that offered odds of 2/11 for City in the without Chelsea market on March 27th, and you’ll find the Imo born forward is also prolific for his club. Last season he netted 12 in 29 Premier League and FA Cup appearances.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

After an impressive 2002/03 Champions League campaign with Maccabi Haifa in which he netted seven in eight games, he earned a loan deal with Harry Redknapp’s Portsmouth.

After helping them to get into the Premier League his spell was made permanent. He also had successful moves to Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers. Yakubu is the Premier league’s highest ever scoring Nigerian and third in the national team’s all-time netting table.

Peter Odemwingie

The forward made a successful transition from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow to West Bromwich Albion in 2010.

Odemwingie netted in four consecutive matches and given two Player of the Month awards during his first season in England – a feat only achieved by six others. He also broke a club record, scoring 15 goals in his first campaign. In 87 league outings for the Baggies, he found the net 30 times.

He then signed for struggling Cardiff City and subsequently Stoke City on an 18-month contract. Odemwingie is now thought to be joining Indonesian side Madura United.

Victor Moses

Son of Lagos, Moses moved to London when he was 11 and began his journey to the Premier League. He joined Chelsea from Wigan Athletic in 2012 and went on to win the Europa League in 2013. The forward has been on various loan spells to top clubs since, such as Liverpool, but is now thriving Stamford Bridge under Antonio Conte.

Moses has 29 caps to his name and will be a mainstay of the national team for years to come.


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