Ogenyi Onazi: What does the future hold?

The Nigeria midfielder initially called his time in Turkey before reversing his decision. What does this mean for him and his future?


After spending four years with Lazio, Ogenyi Onazi made the switch to Super Lig side Trabzonspor last summer. The 24-year old Nigerian instantly became a regular for the Black Sea Storm and enjoyed an encouraging maiden campaign in Turkey.

However, Onazi's future was thrown into doubt after announcing via his agent that he had terminated his contract with Trabzonspor due to unpaid wages.

He ultimately reversed his decision, but there's clearly some discontent on the part of the player, and it remains to be seen whether he will still be with the Trabzon-based heavyweights next term.

The story of last season

Ogenyi Onazi PS           

Trabzonspor had finished a disappointing 12th in the Super Lig during the 2015/2016 season which meant there was no European football for the upcoming campaign. Indeed it was a tricky season at the Medical Park Arena as the club changed their manager four times.

Such turmoil demanded that key acquisitions to improve the club’s stature, and Onazi happened to be one of the best signings of coach Ersun Yanal.

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner settled well after moving from Lazio, and became a vital cog in the middle of the park for the Black Sea Storm, making 32 league apperances.

Onazi’s strong defensive attributes - his concentration, tackling and intercepting skills - helped the six-time Turkish champions finish sixth...six places higher than the year before.

What could happen in this window?

Ogenyi Onazi

News surfaced last week that Onazi had terminated his contract with Trabzonspor due to non-payment of his salary for two months.

This was the kind of situation that made him leave Lazio a year ago, and his agent Ayodele Makinwa subsequently disclosed that a clause was contained in Onazi’s contract giving him the right to terminate it if he wasn’t paid for two months or more.

The local media had barely had time to speculate about Onazi's next destination when he made a U-turn two days later and came to an agreement with the Black Sea Storm, meaning he continues his journey with the Turkish club until at least 2020.

It's not impossible that things will change again, and Nigerian sources reported earlier this window that Trabzonspor had rejected a €5 million offer from an unnamed Chinese side for the midfielder's services.

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What to expect next season

Ogenyi Onazi Trabzonspor

With Onazi now looking set to continue in the colours of Trabzonspor for the upcoming 2016/2017 season, he will once again be an integral part of the team.

On the international scene, Onazi should continue to enjoy a key role as the Super Eagles aim to reach next year’s World Cup in Russia ahead of Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia. Onazi has been a mainstay in Gernot Rohr’s squad, deputising as captain in John Obi Mikel’s absence, and will be desperate to return to the grandest stage of all after injury curtailed his participation in Brazil in 2014.

His recent performances in the green jersey have not drawn praise from the Nigerian faithful, particularly in the last game against South Africa in Uyo, but that doesn’t change the fact that he will remain a valuable asset for both club and country.