The coronavirus pandemic has forced football to take a back seat, but clubs are already making plans ahead of next season even though the current one does not have a finishing date yet.
All of Europe’s leagues aside the Belarusian topflight are currently on suspension as the world tries to find a cure for the virus.
The pandemic has affected football massively both on and off the pitch. Recently FIFA recommended that players whose contract expire in June should be extended.
At the same time, the summer transfer window will be shifted, although it remains to be seen how it will all play out.
Nevertheless, despite the new measures, the transfer rumours haven’t stopped with a lot of players linked with a move away from their current clubs.
Nigerian stars are not left out, and that’s why Soccernet takes a look at Nigerian players that are likely to change clubs when the transfer window opens.
Moses Simon: The Super Eagles star joined Nantes on loan from Levante at the start of the season. While Nantes are interested in signing Simon’s permanently, it appears the winger is set for a bigger move given his performances this season.
The 24-year-old has scored nine times and provided eight assists in 30 games for Les Canaries this season. He has been arguably the best player under Christian Gourcuff this campaign.
Known for his pace, skill and work-rate, Simon has been a thorn in the flesh of Ligue 1 defenders with his runs down the flanks.
The Nigeria international has been linked with a move to Newcastle and with Saudi Arabia owners set to take over at St. James Park, Simon could be part of a new force in the premier league.
Aside from Newscastle, Lyon, Hertha Berlin are also interested in the services of the Nigerian.
Victor Osimhen: What a season Victor Osimhen is having! The 21-year-old is just in his first season in the French top flight, but it looks like he has been playing in France for ages.
After losing Pepe to Arsenal, Lille decided to pay 13m euros for Osimhen who had scored 20 goals in 36 games for Royal Charleroi in the 2018/2019 season.
If there were any doubts about his ability to cope on the big stage, Osimhen has cleared those doubts with 18 goals in all competitions for Les Dogues this season.
The Super Eagles star has been a terror to Ligue 1 defenders and scores goals without problems. Osimhen has had a hand in over 50% of Lille’s goals this season.
Clubs have taken notice of him and has been linked with a move to some of Europe’s topsides.
The Nigeria international is attracting interest from Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Although Lille have stated they are not interested in selling presently, their resolve could be tested if a big-money offer comes in for him.
Emmanuel Dennis: It has been a good season for Nigerian attackers, and Emmanuel Dennis is one of the players making the country proud.
The 22-year-old is a league champion with Club Brugge after the Belgian authorities decided to cancel play-offs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brugge were the leaders during the regular season with Dennis performances contributing to Blauw-Zwart’s success. The Nigeria international has scored 11 times and provided two assists for Brugge this season.
Dennis shining moment this season came when he scored Brugge’s two goals in the stunning draw against Real Madrid in a champions league encounter last September.
He has been linked with many clubs, but a move to Borussia Dortmund looks more likely with reports suggesting the German side have opened negotiations with Brugge.
Samuel Chukwueze: Chukwueze, along with Osimhen, is the future of Nigerian football. The former U-20 star came to the limelight last season, which was also his debut campaign with Villarreal.
His performances against Real Madrid and Barcelona caught people’s attention, and he has grown from strength to strength. Last year, He finished 9th in the Kopa trophy award that was given out by Ballon d’Or organisers, France Football.
Although Chukuwueze has not reached the heights of his break-out season, he is still attracting interest from topsides with Liverpool and Chelsea leading the race for his signature.
According to reports, the Reds had a bid rejected by Villarreal in January, but Jurgen Klopp’s side are expected to try again this summer.
Josh Maja: Maja is one of the two Nigerians playing for Bordeaux- the other one is Samuel Kalu. The 21-year-old joined Les Girondins in January 2019.
He struggled to adapt in his first six months, and it is more of the same this season. Although he’s one of Bordeaux topscorers this campaign with six goals, Maja has found himself on the bench most times.
The Nigeria international is linked with a move to AC Milan, while a return to England has also been mooted. Crystal Palace and West Ham are the two English clubs reportedly interested- an opportunity Maja may not want to miss.
Kelechi Iheanacho: Iheanacho was once touted as the next big star of Nigerian football, but the former Golden Eaglets star has failed to live up to expectation.
The Super Eagles signed for Manchester City after his exploits at the 2013 U-17 World Cup, but he struggled at the Etihad and was shipped off to Leicester City.
He has not fared better at the King Power Stadium, and it was only until last December Iheanacho started to show some promising signs.
The 23-year-old’s first league appearance this season came at the start of December against Everton, which was also the turning point of his campaign.
With Foxes trailing 1-0, Iheanacho came on to supply the assist for Vardy’s equaliser, before going on to score the winner in injury time.
His form has improved since then, and he is currently Leicester’s third-highest goalscorer. However, despite the upturn in his performance, Brendan Rodgers will likely bring in a new striker given Vardy’s advanced age.
Should that happen, Iheanacho will probably fall in the pecking order, and a move away from the club could be the logical solution.
He has already been linked with Trabzonspor as one of the potential replacements for Alexander Solorth who is set for a premier league move.
Other Stars Who Could Move
Tyronne Ebuehi: The former Ado Den Hagg has struggled for minutes since he came back from his lengthy lay-off, and may need to leave Benfica to get his career back on track.
Ola Aina: Although Ola Aina has featured regularly for Torino, he is linked with a return to the Premier League as he misses home.
Jamilu Collins: The 25-year-old has featured regularly for Paderborn, but with Steffen Baumgart’s set to go down from the Bundesliga, Collins may want a new challenge.
Maduka Okoye: The German Born goalkeeper currently plays Regionalliga West for Fortuna Düsseldorf II, but has revealed there is interest from top clubs.