January is the start of a new year, but for football fans, clubs, managers and players, it is another transfer window.
The winter transfer window provides struggling clubs with the opportunity to bring in players to improve their situation.
At the same time, clubs in a healthier position use this window as a chance to bring in players that can bolster their squad or as a temporary replacement for an injured player.
Also, players struggling for game time use this window to secure moves to clubs where they can turn their fortunes around.
This year’s winter transfer window comes less than three months after the summer transfer window shut. The summer window was extended till October due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
So with the winter transfer window officially opened, Soccernet.ng takes a look at some Nigerian players that could be on the move.
He has been out of action since October, but January offers Ahmed Musa a chance to sign for a new club. The Super Eagles captain has been without a club since he left Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr last October.
Musa has been training in Nigeria as he hopes to stay in shape ahead of a potential move this month. The 28-year old is reportedly looking for a move back to Europe and has been linked to Sheffield United and Galatasaray.
And with almost a decade of experience that includes spells at VV-Venlo, CSKA Moscow and Leicester City, he should not be short of offers.
It has been a year since John Ogu last played football professionally. The Nigerian international left Al-Adalah FC last January and has been without a club ever since. He has also lost his place in the national team with his last appearance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
He has always stated his desire to play football again, and this window could provide him with the opportunity.
Although he eventually stayed at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, it has not stopped the exit rumours, and that could be a reality this window.
Kalu has had a disappointing start to the season, featuring in just seven league games with only four starts.
He has missed ten league games for Bordeaux including the last six, which has put his long-term future at the club in doubt.
January offers him an opportunity to assess his situation, and that could see him leave the French top-flight.
Galatasaray are one of the clubs interested in the Super Eagles winger.
Josh Maja is another Super Eagles star that plays for Bordeaux but could be on his way out of the club this month.
Maja joined Les Girondins from Sunderland in January 2018, but his time at the club has been underwhelming.
The 22-year-old has found it difficult to tie down a starting shirt with 24 of his 43 appearances coming as a substitute.
His struggles in front of goal this season is well documented with just two goals in 15 league appearances. A move back to England has been mooted with Sheffield United reportedly interested in his services this month.
Emmanuel Dennis was close to leaving Club Brugge last summer, but the clubs interested in his services could not match his valuation.
However, that could change this month as his indiscretion could see him leave Brugge. The Nigerian international has always been a key player in Philippe Clement’s squad, but he has been on the fringes since he walked off the team bus ahead of their champions league encounter against Dortmund.
The 22-year-old has made just six league starts but has not played in Club’s last four games. He looks likely to leave the club this month with the likes of Leeds and Sheffield interested in his services.
It has been almost a year since Ighalo joined Manchester United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua. The initial loan deal was supposed to last till the end of last season but was then extended for another seven months due to the disruptions caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
He is now nearing the end of his stay at Old Trafford with the deal set to expire at the end of the month. It’s very unlikely that United will extend the contract as Ighalo has fallen in the pecking order.
Ighalo is expected to return to China once his loan ends with his contract at Shanghai not expiring until 2022.
2020 was a difficult year for Francis Uzoho, but this window could offer him a fresh start. The 22-year-old returned from a long layoff last year to join Cypriot club, Apoel Nicosia.
However, he is yet to make an appearance for the club this season with Mick Mccarthy preferring João Miguel Macedo Silva in goal.
And with him losing his place in the Super Eagles squad, moving way from Apoel temporarily or permanently could be the route for him back.
Henry Onyekuru’s time at Monaco has not gone according to plan, and that could see him leave the club permanently this month.
Onyekuru joined Monaco from Everton last season, but he was afforded limited opportunities and joined Galatasaray on loan last January.
He returned to the Principality club in the summer, hoping for a fresh start. However, his fortunes did not change, and with just four Ligue 1 appearances this season, a moved away has once again been mooted.
According to reports, Galatasaray have already made an approach for the Nigerian international, which is not a surprise given his previous success at the club.
Ramon Azeez has just 100 minutes of La Liga action for Granada and has fallen in the pecking order. However, January offers him a chance to assess his situation.
Like Azeez, Kelechi Nwakali has also not played much this season with just four substitute appearance and one start in the Spanish top-flight.
His last appearance was in November and has missed Huesca’s matchday squad for the last five games. A loan move this month could be the solution to his woes.