By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Super Eagles midfielder Mutiu Adepoju is hopeful that more Nigerian players will grace the Spanish La Liga as the Turkish and Belgian leagues seem the new haven for current Super Eagles players, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The former Racing Santander and Real Sociedad star said it is normal for changes to occur in the transfer movements of footballers with Nigerian players not exceptions.
“There was indeed a time when Spanish teams had Nigerian players in their fold but unfortunately that’s changed now,” Adepoju, who now works with LaLiga, told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“However with the keen interest in Nigerian football and talents in the Nigeria Professional Football League from the Spanish league which culminated in the All Star Game last season I believe with time, there will be more Nigerian players moving to the LaLiga.
“We still have the likes of the Uche brothers (Ikechukwu and Kalu) and Ramon Azeez but they are not in the LaLiga but Segunda. But Kayode Olarenwaju has come to Girona on loan from Man City.
“I wished Kelechi Iheanacho would take the chance to play in the LaLiga but he chose to remain in England (for Leicester) which is okay, I’m happy for him.”
Aside from Adepoju, the Spanish league has been home to former Nigerian internationals like Emmanuel Amuneke and Gbenga Okunowo (Barcelona), Christopher Ohenhen (Compostela) and Willy Agbonavbare (Rayo Vallacano).
Adepoju however tips two African stars in LaLiga to perform excellently in the 2017/2018 season.
“I expect a good season for the other African players in Spain like Thomas Partey, fine player from Ghana. He’s a good player but just hasn’t been able to break into Atletico Madrid’s first team. He did well coming off the bench last season.
On his prediction for the eventual winners of the LaLiga title, Adepoju said: “Forget results in the pre-season, this could be the toughest LaLiga title race in recent years. Real Madrid didn’t do well in the International Champions Cup but see the way they destroyed Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup home and away.
“But Madrid and Barcelona must watch it because Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Valencia can shock them. They have great teams despite the challenges they have. Atletico will compete with the big two unless they suffer big injury setbacks or suspensions to their spine.”