Top 10 Nigerian Football Players of 2020
Yes! That’s so! Several of the best Nigerian football players of 2020 play in the English Premier League and 5 of them even represent Nigerian national team in international arenas. Should English football thank Nigeria for that or should Nigeria thank English football to have accepted these talents? You tell us!
In this post, we aim to introduce top 10 Nigerian football players of 2020. As already mentioned, most of them play in the English Premier League. That means not only are they regarded as professional footballers despite their young age but also as the biggest Nigerian football stars of 2020.
Top 10 Nigerian football players of 2020, who are they and where do they play?
If you just like to know more about these young Nigerian talents, read on! We might not cover all the facts about them, but at least you are going to know more about their careers and style of play by reading this post.
One of the top 10 Nigerian football players of 2020, Alexander Chuka Iwobi known as Alex Iwobi, was born in May 1996 in Lagos, Nigeria. He’s 24 by now and plays for the Premier League club, Everton, but has spent most of his footballing career at Arsenal, namely for 15 years (from 2004 to 2019). He actually started football with the Premier League club when he was 8 and played for their youth team for 11 years.
Then, the Nigerian talent, advanced to Arsenal senior team and had a four-year spell with them from 2015 to 2019 during which he appeared 100 times and scored 11 goals for the English club.
Although Iwobi is from Nigeria, he is also a citizen of England which means he can play for the England national team, too. And, he has actually played for the England U16, U17 and U18 national team from 2011 to 2013.
However, as a senior, Iwobi has chosen to play for the Nigerian national team and has scored 7 goals in his 40 appearances for them from 2015 on. He was also part of the Nigerian national team who played in 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Although mostly used as a substitute, Iwobi has managed to score a few goals too.
That shows he’s a good scorer but needs more time to develop so that he could be used in the first-team squad rather than a substitute. In fact, they say that one of the reasons he left Arsenal for Everton - and surprised his fans - has been to get more play time.
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Born in October 1996 in the state of Imo, Nigeria, Kelechi Iheanacho is among the best Nigerian footballers of 2020 who plays both for a Premier League club, namely Leicester City, and the Nigerian national team. Iheanacho has also played for another Premier League club, Manchester City, from 2014 to 2017.
The Nigerian talent started his youth career at the age of 15 with the Nigerian Taye Football Academy and just after 3 years joined Manchester City's Academy. Two years later, in 2017, Leicester City signed Iheanacho on a five-year contract for a reported fee of €27.5 million. Almost good for a start!
So far, the 23-year-old Nigerian striker has scored 7 goals for Leicester City in his 64 appearances (1 goal in every 9 matches) which is far less than the 12 goals he scored in his 46 appearances for Manchester City (almost 1 goal in every 4 matches), however, he still remains a talented player with a bright future at the Premier League club.
While still under 20, Iheanacho scored his 10th goal in the Premier League - in a match against Bournemouth that ended in Manchester City’s 4-0 victory - and by doing so joined the list of Premier League scorers who have scored 10 goals before the age of 20.
The list contains stars like Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Michael Owen. So, by these standards, Iheanacho is indeed among the greatest Nigerian footballers of 2020.
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Born in December 1998 in Lagos, Nigeria, Victor James Osimhen known as Victor Osimhen is one of the top 10 Nigerian football players in 2020 who currently plays for the Ligue 1 club, Lille. The Nigerian talent is a forward and one of those ones with a knack for goalscoring:
He has scored 13 goals in his 27 appearances for the French club which means almost one goal in every two appearances. An impressive record for a start!
Osimhen has also appeared for the national football team of his country, Nigeria, since 2017, and again he has scored for the team almost one goal in every two matches: 4 goals in 9 appearances.
As already mentioned, the Nigerian forward has a knack for goalscoring which was once again proved when he scored twice only in five minutes to the end of a match against the Belgian club, Zulte Waregem, and brought his side, Charleroi, a 3-2 victory.
Osimhen was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Month in October 2019 for his great performances throughout the 2019-20 season for the French club, Lille. He was also named CAF Youth Player of the Year in 2015 and won FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Boot, FIFA U-17 World Cup Silver Ball both in the same year (2015).
With all these honors only at the age of 21, Osimhen deserves, indeed, to be called one of the greatest Nigerian football players of 2020, and even one of the biggest Nigerian football stars of 2020.
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Born in May 1999 in Umuahia, Nigeria, Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze simply known as Samuel Chukwueze is another Nigerian talent who currently plays for the LaLiga club, Villarreal FC as a winger.
Chukwueze has not only played for the Nigerian U17 national team but also Nigerian senior national team since 2018 scoring 2 goals in his 13 appearances for the team.
Chukwueze played for the Nigerian national team in the African Cup of Nations held in Egypt in 2019, and even could score a goal in the quarter-final match against South Africa that ended in Nigeria’s 2-1 victory.
One interesting fact about Chukwueze is that, in regard to his playing style, he is compared the most to Arjen Robben, the former legendary Dutch footballer.
Named as the young player of the year in 2017-18 season by the Nigerian Football Federation, Chukwueze was also highlighted in UEFA’s official website as one of the 50 young footballers to watch in the world football with a value of $33 million only at the age of 21.
He also won 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup with the Nigerian U17 national team and was also the winner of the Bronze Boot in the same competition. It seems the Nigerian winger has a bright future ahead of him and undoubtedly deserves to be on the list of Top 10 Nigerian Football Players of 2020.
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A product of Aspire Academy of Qatar, Henry Chukwuemeka Onyekuru, simply known as Henry Onyekuru, is another young Nigerian talent who plays as a winger for the Turkish top-tier club, Galatasaray, on loan from AS Monaco.
Born in June 1997 in Lagos, Nigeria, Onyekuru has also played for the Premier League club, Everton, during his footballing career, namely from 2017 to 2019, though not really because he was loaned out to Anderlecht and Galatasaray during his stay with the club.
Unlike other best Nigerian football players of 2020 already mentioned, Onyekuru has never played for the under-aged Nigerian national teams, but he has served the Nigerian senior national team since 2017 scoring one goal in his 11 appearances for them.
With Galatasary, the Nigerian winger won both the Turkish Super League title and Turkish Cup in 2018-19 season during which he scored 14 goals in his 31 appearances for the team - almost one goal in every two appearances - despite not playing as a forward.
Onyekuru has also played in Belgium; in fact, in the first four years of his senior career, the 23-year-old Nigerian winger played for the Belgian top-tier club, Eupen, and scored 28 goals in his 57 appearances for them. A winger who can play as a striker, if you ask us and indeed one of the best Nigerian soccer players of 2020.
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Born in December 1996 in Lagos, Nigeria, Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi, simply known as Wilfred Ndidi, is a tall Nigerian defensive midfielder - he’s 185 cm tall - who currently plays for the Premier League club, Leicester City.
The fact that Ndidi has never been loaned out till now, has had 113 appearances for the English club since 2017, and has been signed for a transfer fee of almost €19 million means that the lad has something to say and indeed to prove!
Among the top 10 Nigerian football players of 2020, Ndidi has also played for the Nigerian senior national team since 2015, but since he’s a defensive midfielder he has not scored any goals for the team yet.
Maybe one of the honors the 23-year-old Nigerian midfielder has in the bag is that he has scored once against the Premier League giants, Chelsea, namely in 2019-20 season.
Ndidi is also good in defensive work, what he actually proved in a match against Liverpool in February 2017: He won 11 of the 14 tackles he made against the opponents. The Nigerian midfielder is also an educated footballer. He has started studying Business and Management at De Montfort University since 2019.
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Born in July 1996 (aged 24), Joseph Oluwaseyi Temitope Ayodele-Aribo, simply known as Joe Aribo, is another tall Nigerian midfielder (188 cm) who deserves to be on the list of Top 10 Nigerian Footballer Players of 2020.
Although Aribo has not played for a top-tier English club yet, he’s currently serving Rangers which is one of the most successful clubs in the Scottish Premiership.
Aribo has also appeared four times for the Nigerian national team since 2019 scoring two goals for them in total. Since the tall Nigerian midfielder was born in Camberwell, England, he’s also considered an English citizen and can play for the England national team too, though he has not so far.
Although Aribo has never played for an English top-tier club, that doesn’t mean he has never been in English football. In fact, the 24-year-old Nigerian midfielder played for an English second-tier club, namely Charlton Athletic from 2015 to 2019 and was also offered a new contract to stay at the club, but he opted to move to the Scottish giants, Rangers. Maybe he has better opportunities there to develop his talents?
Born in February 1997 in Kaduna, Nigeria, Umar Sadiq Mesbah, simply known as Umar Sadiq, is a Nigerian young talent who currently plays for the Serbian giants, Partizan.
With a height of 192 cm, Sadiq is the tallest footballer among the top 10 Nigerian football players of 2020, and since he plays as a forward, he could also be dangerous in the air.
Sadiq has spent most of his footballing career on loan: From 2014 to 2016 on loan to Roma and Lavagnese from the Italian Serie B club, Spezia, and from 2016 to 2020 on loan to 6 clubs including Partizan - the last of which - from Roma.
The most number of goals Sadiq has scored has been for Partizan - 11 goals in his 18 appearances which translates to more than one goal in every two appearances. And maybe that’s why the Serbian club has opted to buy the Nigerian talent rather than keeping him as a loan player.
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Sadiq also played for the Nigerian U23 national team in 2016 Summer Olympics where he scored 4 goals in his 6 appearances for the team (2 goals in every 3 appearances).
When on loan at Roma, the Nigerian talent won Campionato Nazionale Primavera - an Italian youth competition between Serie A and Serie B clubs - in 2015-16 season and also could score twice in his 6 appearances for the Serie A club.
Born in August 1997 in Ilorin, Nigeria, Taiwo Micheal Awoniyi, simply known as Taiwo Awoniyi, is among the greatest Nigerian football players of 2020 whose play style, as they say, resembles the most to that of Rashidi Yekini, Nigeria’s all-time top scorer.
You might have guessed from this last word that the 23-year-old Nigerian talent is a forward; if so, you’re right! And we add to your guess: he’s a tall one too which means he could also be dangerous in the air and especially when receiving crosses.
Like Umar Sadiq, Taiwo Awoniyi has also spent most of his footballing career on loan; in fact all of his footballing career! The Nigerian talent was bought by the Premier League club, Liverpool, in 2015 for a transfer fee of almost €440,000, and since then he’s been loaned out to several Dutch, German, and Belgian clubs including Mainz, Gent and Royal Excel Mouscron.
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Awoniyi had the best performance with Royal Excel Mouscron in 2019-20 season where he could score 11 goals in his 16 appearances (more than 2 goals in every 3 appearances).
The Nigerian talent has also played for the Nigerian U17, U20, and U23 national teams scoring 13 goals in his 20 appearances for them (more than one goal in every two appearances). He also won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013 with the Nigerian U17 national team.
Born in July 1995 in Jos, Nigeria, Moses Daddy Simon, simply known as Moses Simon, is another Nigerian talent among the Top 10 Nigerian Football Players of 2020 who plays currently as a forward for the Ligue 1 club, Nantes. Unlike some other talents on the list, Simon is not a tall player - he’s 168 cm, but he can also play in the winger post besides forward.
Despite being linked to the Premier League giants, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, only at the age of 18, Simon opted to sign a pre-contract deal with Ajax in May 2013, however, despite scoring for the Dutch top-tier club in his first two appearances, the Nigerian talent was released a week later and bought by an Ajax partner club in Slovakia, namely AS Trenčín who play in the Slovak Super Liga.
Simon has also played for the Nigerian national team since 2015 scoring 5 goals in his 33 appearances for them. The 25-year-old Nigerian forward and winger joined Gent in 2014-15 season and won the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup in the same season with the Belgian pro club. He currently plays for Nantes on loan from the LaLiga club, Lavente, whom he joined in 2018.
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