New Telegraph

Top clubs chase Eagles stars after stellar AFCON show

Victor Osimhen (Chelsea, Arsenal, PSG)

Osimhen was one of the standout players in the 2023 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, despite only scoring one goal. He was already considered the best player on the continent before arriving in Cote d’Ivoire, and his performance in the tournament justified this rating. Many clubs have shown interest in him, including Arsenal, Paris SaintGermain (PSG), and Chelsea. Football Italia reports that PSG are preparing a bid of €120 million (approximately €194 billion in Nigerian currency) for Osimhen. This is due to his impressive skills as a striker and the fact that he has a release clause ranging from €120 million to €130 million. PSG sees him as a potential replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who has scored 242 goals in 289 appearances for the club. If Osimhen joins PSG, he will inherit significant responsibilities. Chelsea appear to be leading the race for Osimhen’s signature, but Arsenal is also interested in him. These two London rivals may end up competing for his services, adding another layer of intrigue to the transfer saga. Chelsea are believed to be ready to meet the release clause as they are keen to bolster a squad in great need of a striker.

Stanley Nwabali (Union St Gilloise, undisclosed Saudi Arabia clubs)

Nwabali was another standout performer for the Eagles during the AFCON tournament. He broke into the team just before the competition and not only contributed significantly to the Eagles’ success in Cote d’Ivoire but also showcased his talent, enhancing his career prospects. With four clean sheets out of seven matches played during the tournament, Nwabali’s stellar performances have attracted interest from clubs across Europe, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia, including Union St Gilloise. His current club, Chippa United, has set a $2 million price tag on him, but his representative, Mohammed, confirmed that new suitors from Saudi Arabia and France have expressed interest in acquiring his services. “There are at least three interested clubs here in South Africa, along with interest from Belgium and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, a French club recently made inquiries about him,” said Mohammed, who declined to disclose the names of the teams. At the age of 27, Nwabali is currently at the peak of his goalkeeping abilities. His confidence and commanding presence in the goal make him a highly sought-after prospect in the transfer market.

Alhassan Yusuf (West Ham, RB Leipzig)

Yusuf was a remarkable player in the AFCON tournament, even though he was added to the squad at the eve of the competition. He caught everyone’s attention with his impressive performance in the first game, but unfortunately, he sustained an injury during the group stage which briefly stopped his momentum. However, he made a comeback during the knockout stages and impressed many clubs, including West Ham from the English Premier League and Leipzig from Germany. This talented midfielder is known for his box-to-box style of play and is often compared to the legendary Ngolo Kante. In the past, he has been linked with Premier League clubs such as Wolves and Sheffield United. His recent performances at AFCON have only further cemented his reputation and attracted the attention of top-tier clubs across Europe.

Raphael Onyedika (Barcelona, Galatasaray)

Reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona is strongly pursuing the signature of Onyedika from Club Brugge in Belgium, in an effort to strengthen their squad with the addition of the Super Eagles midfielder. However, Barcelona faces competition from other top clubs who are closely monitoring Onyedika’s progress. Despite his limited international exposure, Onyedika has been a regular feature for Club Brugge since his move from Danish club FC Midtjylland.

William TroostEkong (undisclosed Saudi Arabia clubs)

Super Eagles vice-captain, William Troost-Ekong, clinched the prestigious Player of the Tournament title at the 2023 AFCON, showcasing his prowess with three remarkable goals during the competition. Troost-Ekong’s standout performances have captured the attention of several unnamed topflight clubs in Saudi Arabia, who are eyeing the PAOK defender ahead of the upcoming transfer window. The Saudi Pro League has increasingly become a hub for prominent African stars, with players like Riyad Mahrez, Franck Kessié, Edouard Mendy, Sadio Mané, Seko Fofana, and Kalidou Koulibaly making notable moves to the league. Expressing his thoughts on potential career developments, TroostEkong stated, “I’m very happy here. I haven’t spoken to my agent yet, but you never know in football. You might get tempted by something bigger and better, and I think at my age of 30, you have to consider all your options.” When questioned about a possible move to Saudi Arabia, Troost-Ekong replied, “I can’t make a definitive decision right now because it’s not on the table. The Saudi League is intriguing, especially considering the number of top players from AFCON who have joined the league. If the opportunity arises, I will assess it carefully and give it due consideration.”

Ademola Lookman (Atlético, Juventus, Inter)

Ademola Lookman’s football stocks have soared to unprecedented heights following his outstanding performance in the 2023 AFCON, where he netted three goals. European powerhouses such as Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, and Juventus have all expressed keen interest in the Super Eagles sensation. Lookman’s remarkable journey, from uncertain prospects at Leicester City to becoming a pivotal figure at Serie A’s Atalanta, epitomizes a true football fairytale. Just two years ago, after being shown the exit door by Leicester City following a loan spell, Lookman found refuge at RB Leipzig before making a transformative move to Atalanta, where he has consistently dazzled on the pitch. The buzz surrounding Lookman extends beyond his on-field performances. According to insights from football analyst Ekrem Konur, the striker’s future is a hot topic in the transfer market. Currently valued at €30 million with a contract running for just over two years at Atalanta, it is speculated that his price tag could skyrocket further if he maintains his impressive form.

Frank Onyeka (Girona, Everton, Fulham and Reims)

Onyeka fondly referred to as “the tank”, played in every match for the Super Eagles as they reached the AFCON 2023 final in Cote d’Ivoire before losing 2-1 to the hosts. Despite the defeat, Onyeka was outstanding throughout the tournament, earning rave reviews for his tireless displays shielding the Nigerian defence and the Brentford midfield has caught the attention of some clubs. Per The Standard, Girona, Everton and Fulham are all after the Nigeria international. Reims and Fioretina are other clubs who are showing strong interest in securing Onyeka this winter.

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