10 stars who can add value to Eagles in 2023

cfafd super eagles squad
cfafd super eagles squad

With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Genk’s Paul Onuachu and Lorient’s Terem Moffi, the Super Eagles in good supply of quality strikers.

Real Sociedad’s Sadiq Umar and Cremonese’s Cyriel Dessers are also worthy backup options, but Middlesbrough’s Akpom could give the backup options and even the starters a run for their money following his recent run of form.

The 27-year-old is the top scorer in the Championship with 13 goals and his ability to function as an attacking midfielder and second striker could also appeal to Jose Peseiro in the New Year.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, Akpom represented England at youth levels, but in 2019, he pledged his international allegiance to Nigeria.

One of the most highly-rated teenagers in England, Edozie left Manchester City for Southampton in September. The 19-year-old playmaker has already made 10 appearances in the Premier League for the Saints.

Edozie is adept as a left winger and could serve as a perfect cover for Nantes’ Moses Simon and Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman on that flank for the Eagles.

Man City manager Pep Guardiola described the youngster, who was part of City’s Elite Development Squad that won the inaugural 2020-21 Premier League 2 diadem, as “an incredible, young player with good pace” in 2021.

Born in England to Nigerian parents, Edozien hasn’t decided his international future. He’ll bring the needed vitality and creativity to the squad if he decided to represent Nigeria this year.

Level on 10 goals with Eagles striker Terem Moffi in Ligue 1, Balogun is in the form of his life and just behind Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the Ligue 1 top-scorer charts this season.

Safe to say the 21-year-old is having a spectacular time in France, on loan at Reims from Arsenal, which has even sparked rumors of an early termination of the loan deal to help the Gunners in their title chase.

Balogun is eligible to play for the United States, England, and Nigeria. But despite representing England at the youth level, the youngster remains connected to his Nigerian roots.

“Nigeria is very close to my heart, I haven’t heard anything from Nigeria, but I’m open to anything because Nigeria is very close to my heart,” he said in an interview with BBC last year.

Balogun will surely bring in more competition to a star-studded attacking line-up known to often perform below expectations in recent years.

While on loan from Atalanta, Okoli proved his credentials in the 2021/22 season when he helped Cremonese gain promotion to the Italian Serie A.

The 21-year-old centre-back has returned to Atalanta, where he has become a consistent feature for the side in the Italian topflight, as they sit seventh, just five points outside the Top 4.

Italy could move to tempt the Vicenza-born defender to play for the four-time world champions in the coming years.

But an early move in 2023 by the Nigeria Football Federation could see the youngster commit his international future to the three-time African champions.

Torunarigha is the son of former Nigerian footballer Ojokojo Torunarigha, and even though the Berlin-raised defender has already expressed his desire to play for the German national team, perhaps he could still be tempted.

It will be no easy feat as the accomplished centre-back even turned down the chance to play for Nigeria a few years ago.

But Germany overlooked Torunarigha for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, despite his brilliance for Gent.

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Now 25, he is reportedly open to playing for the Eagles and head coach Jose Peseiro could invite him in 2023.

With Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun around or above 30, the Eagles defence needs a major revamp, considering they conceded eight goals in their last three games.

Peseiro seems to agree with that as well as he already invited Boavista star Bruno Onyemaechi to the national team fold in November.

Fulham centre-back Adarabioyo is another who could come in to replace the old guards.

Adarabioyo has Premier League and Championship experience, and recent moves by NFF Technical Director Austin Eguavoen suggest it could be only a matter of time before we see the 26-year-old in the green and white colours of Nigeria.

One thing the Eagles are in short supply of is a top-notch attacking midfielder to relieve Alex Iwobi.

They do not come better than Chukwuemeka, the Austria-born teenager who inspired England to win the UEFA European U-19 Championship in 2022.

Chukwuemeka switched from Aston Villa to Chelsea last summer and has already made four Premier League appearances for the Blues and was impressive on Thursday against champions Manchester City, hitting the cross bar in the first half.

Convincing him to play for the Eagles could be the biggest international allegiance switch the NFF pulled since Victor Moses snubbed the Three Lions for Nigeria.

Eze made his debut for England’s U-20 team in 2018 and also captained the side at the 2019 Toulon Tournament, making seven appearances for the side.

In 2019, then NFF president Amaju Pinnick met with Eze to try to persuade him to switch his allegiance to Nigeria. As at the time, Eze, who was with Championship side QPR, said  he was undecided on which country to represent.

In May 2021, Eze was called up to the senior England squad for the first time, as part of Gareth Southgate’s 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2020, but on the same day he got injured during a training session. He’s been ignored by Southgate ever since, which could spell good news for the Eagles.

Olise, 20, was born in England to a Nigerian father and French-Algerian mother and is eligible to represent either France, Algeria, England or Nigeria internationally.

In March 2021, Olise was named as a standby for the Nigeria squad in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho.

Olise’s performances in December earned him the Cinch’s Player of the Month award.

After taking part in Palace’s mid-season trip to Turkey, and featuring in friendlies against the likes of Napoli, Botafogo and Real Valladolid, Olise hit the ground running upon the return of the Premier League.

His performance against Bournemouth was crucial as the Eagles ran out comfortable winners on the south coast, the highlight a wonderful assist for Ebere Eze from a well-worked corner.

Son of former Eagles star Ikpe Ekong, Emmanuel has become a mainstay in the first team squad of Serie A club Empoli. The 20-year-old striker recently signed a new five-year contract keeping him at the club till June 2027.

He is already an U-20 international for Sweden, but he is eligible to play for Nigeria and with his links to the national team, he is keen on following in the footsteps of his father, who played over 15 games for Nigeria.

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