With exactly six months to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the battle among players to keep hold on to places in the Super Eagles intensifies. Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD identifiesbfive players who might need to make January transfer moves to brighten their chances of making the Nigeria World Cup squad…
1. Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England): Ahmed Musa has been relegated to the second team at Leicester City this season. Musa signed last season under then manager Claudio Ranieri and featured 18 times in all competition, scoring four goals. But since the exit of the Italian manager, Musa has been ostracized from the team under the last three coaches to have led the team. To stake a claim in the Super Eagles World Cup-bound squad next summer Musa must weigh his options when the January transfer window reopens in a fortnight. Musa has made one senior appearance this season (one Carabao Cup start and three U-23 appearances for Leicester City)
2. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England): Having joined Leicester City at the start of the season for £25 million from Manchester City, many believed Kelechi Iheanacho would command a regular place in the starting line-up at the club judging from his impressive goal record at the Etihad Stadium. Iheanacho prior to the move to the King Power Stadium had the best goals per minute record in the English Premier League, scoring a goal every 96 minutes.
But a freak injury on his debut appearance for Leicester in a pre-season game and the rich vein of form of the likes of Demarai Gray, Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy restricted Iheanacho to just 10 appearances with a goal so far this season in all competitions. Iheanacho’s progression at the club has not gone as expected,and a move to a another team where he can play regularly actively will not only boost his confidence going into a major tournament like the World Cup but also keep him in good match condition for the Super Eagles.
3. Brown Ideye (Tianjin TEDA, China): Brown Ideye’s return to the Super Eagles from a two-year hiatus has not been justified by the player. Since providing that timely assist for Kelechi Iheanacho to score his first goal in the World Cup qualifier against Zambia in Ndola in 2016, Ideye has not featured for the Super Eagles. The former Olympiakos striker must seek regular playing time to stand a chance of making the preliminary squad for the Mundial.
4. Isaac Success (Watford, England): Having returned to training with Watford last week, Isaac Success still has the quality to break into the star-studded Super Eagles attacking line-up. The former Granada forward has been out for four months due to a knee injury. If Success returns to action and does get regular action in the coming months with a new team or even at Watford he could be a valuable option for Gernot Rohr in attack.
5. Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg, Germany): Wolfsburg’s young striker Victor Osimhen has the quality and physique to knock out one of the four strikers in the Super Eagles team if he gets regular playing time at Wolfsburg. The 18-year-old impressed in his cameo appearance for the super Eagles in June and has gone to make four substitute appearances for Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga this season but he is unlikely to challenge for a place in the Super Eagles World Cup squad while making cameo appearances in the Bundesliga. He needs a move in January.