It has been an unprecedented season for Nigerian strikers playing their football across different European Leagues.
In fact, there hasn’t been a better time for Nigerian attackers in Europe than now. This season, five Nigerian strikers have scored ten or more league goals for their respective clubs.
In England, the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho has ten league goals for the Foxes. Remarkably, Iheanacho’s first of the ten goals was in February before scoring nine more between March and April.
Meanwhile, in France, Terem Moffi has 14 league goals for Lorient, which is already one more than the number Victor Osimhen scored for Lille in his only season in the French top-flight.
Umar Sadiq is also doing the work in the Spanish second division with 18 league goals while he also scored six for Partizan Belgrade before joining Almeria.
Paul Onuachu has been the Super Eagles most prolific forward in Europe this season with 30 goals for Genk- the most a Nigerian has managed in a single season in Europe’s top ten leagues this millennium, and also the highest a player has scored in the Belgian top-flight this century.
However, while these are impressive, especially from Onuachu, there’s another player called Simy Nwankwo, who is also having a record-breaking season-albeit in a more competitive league.
Simy is currently the joint third-highest goalscorer in the Italian Serie A this season with 19 goals in 34 league games for Crotone.
It’s the most a Nigerian has scored in a single season of any of Europe’s top five leagues this millennium. Simy goals this season made him Nigeria’s highest goalscorer in the Serie A, while he also became Crotone’s all-time scorer.
But sadly for Simi, his goals have not reflected in Crotone’s performances, with Serse Cosmi’s men bound to play Serie football next season after they suffered their second relegation in four years.
The Pythagoreans have just five wins all season and have conceded a massive 85 goals. Remarkably, Simy has more goals than Crotone has points, which shows how bad they’ve been this season.
But with their relegation confirmed after losing 2-0 to Inter Milan, there are question marks over Simy’s future at the club.
The Nigerian international has already played in the Serie B with the club, but he’s unlikely to follow the same path this time, knowing he has a chance to stay in the top-flight.
Genoa and Sampdoria are the first two clubs to have shown an interest in keeping Simy in the Serie A. Although the Nigerian had said he’s not thinking about his future currently, Cosmi expects his top man to leave the club this summer.
However, while Genoa and Sampdoria are decent clubs, a move to AS Roma could be the perfect deal for both the club and Simy.
I Giallorossi are expected to sign a new striker, with Edin Dzeko likely to leave in the summer after reportedly falling out with manager Paulo Fonseca.
Dzeko has been so important to Roma since joining the club in 2016, but his relationship with Fonseca broke down this season and even had the captain’s armband taken off him.
With the former Manchester City man leaving, Simy could be the perfect replacement for him. Both Dzeko and Simy are similarly built, with Simy only slightly taller by 0.05m.
Although Dzeko is superior technically, Simy has scored more goals than the Bosnian international this season, playing for the league’s basement side.
The 35-year-old has managed just seven goals in 23 league appearances for Roma compared to the 19 Simy has scored for Crotone- although Dzeko’s seven are all non-penalty goals.
Nonetheless, in Simy, Roma will be getting a striker who has Serie A experience and guarantees goals. While Dzeko offers more than just goals, stats show that Simy could also be that man for Roma- although his hold-up play needs to improve.
Simy has just one assist this season, which is also the same number Dzeko has managed for Fonseca’s side in the league this season.
And in terms of chance conversion, Simy has been more clinical this season with just nine big chances missed compared to the 17 Dzeko has missed.
However, Simy will need to improve on his ability to bring his teammates into the game. The Nigerian international averages 0.8 key passes per game and has created no big chance this season.
In contrast, Dzeko averages 1.1 key passes per game and has created two big chances. As stated earlier, his hold-up play is one of the best in the Italian top-flight, and it’s an area Simy will also need to improve on should he move to the capital.
But despite the few flaws in his game, the most important thing for a striker is scoring goals, and the former Gil Vicente striker has shown he knows how to do just that.
Meanwhile, Simy also stands a chance of getting a recall to the national team should he sign for a club like Roma.
Despite the brilliant campaign he’s had, the 28-year-old is not likely to return to the Super Eagles set up soon, going by Gernot Rohr’s comments, which is ridiculous, by the way.
The Super Eagles manager revealed the former Gil Vicente would have to leave Crotone to get another opportunity in the squad.
Although Simy has said that a potential Super Eagles return is not an obsession for him, it will definitely boost his profile.
It remains to be seen if Simy will end up at Italy’s capital, but he will be a perfect fit for the club. But whatever happens in the summer, the 28-year-old will be playing top-flight football.