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HITS & MISHITS! 11 High Profile Transfers Of Nigerian Players In History

HITS & MISHITS! 11 High Profile Transfers Of Nigerian Players In History

The summer transfer window is  up and running with Nigerian players also moving from one club to another.

In this piece Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI takes a look at notable Nigerian players who impressed after making high profile transfers to top European clubs and those who failed to live up to expectations.

THE HITS

1. FINIDI GEORGE (Sharks to Ajax Amsterdam)

Finidi George left now defunct Sharks of Port Harcourt for the Netherlands' giants Ajax Amsterdam in 1993.

While at Ajax, George made 86 appearances, scoring 18 goals.

He won three straight Dutch league titles (1994,1995, 1996), two Johan Cruyff Shield (1994, 1995), one UEFA Champions League (1995) one UEFA Super Cup (1995) and one Intercontinental Cup (1995).

After three successful years at Ajax, George eventually left for Real Betis  in 1996.

2. NWANKWO KANU (Iwuanyanwu Nationale to Ajax Amsterdam)

Just like Finidi George, Nwankwo Kanu signed for Ajax Amsterdam in 1993 and also had a memorable time there.

Also along with George, Kanu won three league titles, two Johan Cruyff Shield, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup.

Before Kanu left Ajax for Inter Milan in 1996, he made 54 appearances, and scored 25 goals.

3. TARIBO WEST (Julius Berger to Auxerre/Inter Milan)

In 1993, Taribo West signed for French Ligue 1 club Auxerre and spent four years with the club.

West had to wait until 5th of March, 1994, before he made his competitive debut for Auxerre in an away 0-0 draw with  Toulouse.

Also in 1994, West won his first European domestic title following Auxerre's French Cup triumph.

And in 1996, West was instrumental to Auxerre winning the Ligue 1 title (the first in their history) and the French Cup).

Before departing Auxerre in 1997 for Inter Milan, West made 73 appearances, scoring just one goal.

At Inter Milan, West featured 44 times, scoring two goals before departing in the winter of 2000.

Before his departure, West was one of the key players along  with the likes of Ronaldo De Lima of Brazil and Chile legend Ivan Zamorano, Diego Simeoni (now Atletico Madrid coach) who helped Inter win the 1998 UEFA Cup (now Europa Cup).

4. JOHN MIKEL OBI (Lyn Oslo to Chelsea)

After a contract dispute over the acquisition of John Mikel Obi was settled between Manchester United and Chelsea, Mikel eventually signed for The Blues in 2006, eventually  left them for Chinese Super League club, Tianjin Teda, in January, 2017.

Prior to his departure, Mikel enjoyed  a trophy-laden period with Chelsea after winning two Premier League titles (2010, 2015) four FA Cups (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), two League Cups (2007, 2015), one FA Community Shield (2009), one UEFA Champions League (2012) and one Europa Cup (2013).

Mikel scored six goals in 249 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea.

5. CELESTINE BABAYARO (Anderlecht to Chelsea)

Following a successful three years with Anderlecht in the Belgian topflight, Celestine Babayaro signed for Chelsea in 1997.

At Chelsea, Babayaro was a regular as he made the left-full back position is own while playing with the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Tore Andre Flo, Dennis Wise, Gianluigi Vialli and Roberto Di Matteo.

Babayaro ended up winning the FA Cup (2000) the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup (1998) and the UEFA Super Cup (1998).

With 135 appearances and five goals under his belt, Babayaro left Chelsea for Newcastle.

6. AUSTIN OKOCHA (Fenerbahce to PSG)

Despite Nigeria's not too impressive performance at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, Austin Okocha signed for Paris Saint-Germain for £14 million making him the most expensive African player at the time.

Though Okocha did not win any silverware while at PSG, he was a role model to a young Ronaldinho.

Okocha went on to captain PSG during his time with them before moving to Bolton Wanderers in 2002.

He had a total of 84 appearances for PSG and found the back of the net 23 times.

THE MISHITS

7. EMMANUEL AMUNEKE (Sporting Lisbon to Barcelona)

Emmanuel Amuneke helped Nigeria win gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and secured a high profile move to Spanish giants Barcelona from Sporting Lisbon that same year.

But it turned out to be a nightmare move as injuries prevented Amuneke from showcasing his potential.

His time at Barcelona would be effectively ended in the 1997 off-season after he suffered a serious knee injury, following which he appeared very rarely for the club (only three league games in three full seasons combined).

Before he was released by Barcelona in 2000, Amuneke only made 19 appearances, scoring just one goal.

8. SUNDAY OLISEH (Ajax to Juventus)

In 1999, Sunday Oliseh joined Juventus from Ajax Amsterdam but it turned out to be a wrong move.

Oliseh had to contend with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte, Edgar Davids, Alessio Tacchinardi for a place in the Juventus midfield.

And after just eight appearances with no goal, Oliseh ditched the Old Lady for Borussia Dortmund in 2000.

9. TAYE TAIWO (Marseille to AC Milan)

Current Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegro ( who was AC Milan coach) confirmed in 2011 that Taye Taiwo had signed for the Rosonerri.

But unfortunately, Taiwo made only six appearances without scoring a single goal.

In January, 2012, AC Milan sent Taiwo on loan to Queens Park Rangers before agreeing another loan move July 2012 to Dynamo Kyiv.

AC Milan eventually sold Taiwo to Turkish club Bursaspor on a permanent move in 2013.

10. NWANKWO KANU (Ajax to Inter Milan)

Nwankwo Kanu's outstanding performance for Ajax and the Dream Team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, earned him a move to Inter Milan.

However, after returning from the Olympics, Kanu underwent a medical examination at Inter, which revealed a serious heart defect; and underwent surgery in November 1996 to replace an aortic valve and did not return to his club until April 1997.

Despite overcoming his heart problems, Kanu found playing time at Inter hard to come by and had to dump them on February, 1999 for Arsenal.

While at Inter, Kanu only appeared in 12 games and had just one goal to his  name.

11. TARIBO WEST (Inter Milan to AC Milan)

Taribo West left Inter Milan for rivals AC Milan in 2000 after his lack of playing time did not improve.

But things did not fare better at  AC Milan either as he was always on the bench.

And after just four appearances with a solitary goal to show for his effort, West signed for Derby County in 2001.

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