With the English Premier League just two weeks old, Completesports.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU takes a critical look at three Nigerian players – Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success and Leon Balogun, who have struggled to earn regular playing berths at their respective clubs and need to secure their career lifeline elsewhere before the end of the European transfer window…
KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester City
Kelechi Iheanacho looked reborn in pre-season for Leicester City, scoring three goals in as many games for the Foxes. That impressive display has no doubt earned him a recall to the Nigeria squad for the international friendly against Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine on September 10 after he was dropped from the squad that won bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
However, two games into the new season, the former Manchester City player is yet to have a taste of action for Leicester City. With Englishman Jamie Vardy already the leading marksman at the club, the arrival of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United has further limited Iheanacho’s chances of a regular playing time.
At the moment, it is unlikely he will come close to his 30 league appearances for the Foxes last season, and maybe a loan move to a club in Europe could help revive his career.
ISAAC SUCCESS (Watford)
The powerful forward featured in 30 Premier League games for Watford last season, hitting the back of the net once. Isaac Success started nine of the games and came on as a substitute 21 times.
It doesn’t appear things will get better for the 23-year-old this term especially with the arrival of Danny Wellbeck from Arsenal. Already, Wellbeck has been handed his number 10 jersey and Ismaila Sarr also arriving from Ligue 1 also represents further competition for attacking minutes.
After making a substitute appearance in Watford’s opening day home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion, Success failed to even make the bench in last weekend’s away defeat at Everton.
That is clear sign of what is to come for the Nigerian at the club this season and seeking a move elsewhere before the end of the European transfer window will do him a lot of good.
LEON BALOGUN (Brighton)
The well built centre-back arrived Brighton & Hove Albion on a free transfer from German club, FSV Mainz last season, and despite huge praise on arrival from the former Seagulls manager, Chris Hughton, Balogun has find it difficult to dislodge the centre-back pairing of Lewis Dunk and Sean Duffy.
The 31-year-old made just eight Premier League appearances for the club last season and has failed to make the bench in Brighton’s opening two league games of the 2019/2020 campaign.
Should the situation persists, Balogun could lose his place in the national team especially with Semi Ajayi having a fine season in the Sky Bet Championship with West Bromwich Albion. He certainly needs a career lifeline too, and should look elsewhere if it can’t be secured at Brighton now.