Ighalo, Aina, Balogun: 7 top Nigerian stars set to face club uncertainty this summer

As the summer transfer window approaches, several players with expiring contracts are facing an uncertain future in the world of professional football. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the Nigerian players who could soon be without a club and examine their potential prospects in the transfer market.

One such player is 34-year-old Omatsone ‘Sone’ Aluko, who still possesses a high level of quality on the pitch despite losing some of his lightning pace and trickery on the right wing. With a wealth of experience from playing at notable clubs like Reading, Fulham, Rangers, and Hull City, Aluko could be an intriguing option for clubs in need of attacking reinforcements.

Another player facing uncertainty is 24-year-old striker Josh Maja, who has made a significant impact in France’s Ligue 2 with Girondins Bordeaux. With previous stints at Sunderland and Stoke City, Maja’s skill set and youthful energy make him an enticing prospect for clubs seeking a potent center-forward.

26-year-old Super Eagles right-back Ola Aina finds himself at a crossroads as his contract with Torino approaches its end. There is speculation of a return to the English Premier League, with several clubs reportedly vying for his signature. With 29 appearances for the Super Eagles since his debut in 2017, Aina’s international experience further enhances his appeal.

Versatile defender Bryan Idowu is another player whose future is up in the air. The 31-year-old Nigerian star has made 16 appearances for Khimki in the Russian Premier Liga this season. Idowu’s ability to play as both a left-back and right-back makes him a valuable asset, especially considering his previous involvement with the Super Eagles during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Experienced center-back Efe Ambrose, aged 34, has represented clubs such as St. Johnstone, Derby, Celtic, and Hibernian. Despite his age, Ambrose’s recent performances for Morton in the Scottish Championship have been noteworthy, with one goal and one assist in just 11 games. The ageless defender could potentially seek one more season as a professional before considering hanging up his boots.

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Leon Balogun is another seasoned center-back who finds himself clubless in a few days. Since his arrival in August 2022, Balogun has demonstrated his worth with one goal in 16 appearances for Queens Park Rangers, proving to be a commanding presence at the heart of the defence. Balogun’s experience at clubs like Wigan, Mainz, and Brighton, coupled with his contributions to Nigeria’s bronze medal win at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, could make him a valuable addition to any team.

Finally, proof of forward Odion Ighalo has concluded his time at Al Hilal, leaving Ighalo on the lookout for his next chapter in football. During his stint at Al Hilal, Ighalo’s performances were nothing short of exceptional, finding the back of the net an impressive 19 times and providing two assists in just 27 league appearances. As one of Nigeria’s finest strikers of the last decade, Ighalo played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s successful campaign at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where he emerged as the tournament’s top scorer.

In conclusion, as these Nigerian stars enter the summer without a club, their fans eagerly await to see which teams will seize the opportunity to secure their services. With their wealth of experience, skill sets, and international exposure, these players could prove to be valuable additions to any team in need of reinforcements.

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