Can Olarenwaju Kayode yet justify Girona switch?

The Nigerian international has only just begun to show his class since moving to Spain, but can he do it on a consistent basis?


Based on the evidence of last season, Olarenwaju Kayode is one of the most effective Nigerian frontmen playing the game today. During the 2016-17 campaign, the 24-year old was a star for Austria Vienna, where he scored 17 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga and 24 in all competitions.

Such a feat would duly get the attention of potential suitors, but it was surprisingly Manchester City that secured his services.

He obviously wasn’t going to get any significant game time at the Etihad Stadium and was loaned to La Liga outfit Girona.

On one hand, the move to Catalonia could be seen as a step down for Kayode considering where he came from. Austria Vienna are 25-time league champions and have been regular participants in European competitions.

Girona Estadio Montilivi

Minnows Girona, by contrast, are making their maiden appearance in La Liga.

It was expected that Kayode would fit into Pablo Machin’s squad and could translate his form in Austria to the Spanish top flight.

To date, however, that hasn't been the case, as the former Maccabi Netanya man has made just two league starts for the Blanquivermell, featuring seven times off the bench, and is yet to find the net.

Girona claimed a 2-1 win away to Deportivo La Coruna on Monday night, and while Kayode again didn't get himself among the goalscorers, he made a meaningful impact - contributing the assist for Portu's winner - and began to suggest that he can yet be a success in Spain.

Still, despite his contribution, it remains to be seen whether the Girona move is a good one for his career.

The newly promoted side have won just two games all season, and had gone winless in six before their triumph against Depor.

Predictably, they're still finding their feet in the new division, and these aren't the conditions in which a young striker who's playing in a new league and a new country will find the going easy. It's no surprising that Kayode has made just two starts so far this term.

Perhaps Gernot Rohr has noticed his reduced gametime, and Kayode hasn't been involved in Nigeria's last two international call-ups.

If Kayode continues to struggle, one wonders what the future will hold for him especially when he returns to the Ethiad Stadium. Certainly, he's no competition...or at the moment, even potential competition...for Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus.

Sergio Aguero Gabriel Jesus Manchester City Premier League 043017

More imminently, it's unlikely to see him make the Super Eagles' World Cup squad unless he builds on his latest showing against Depor.

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However, Rohr needs as many talented options as he can assemble, particularly with Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo yet to truly convince that they can lead the line consistently for the West African giants.

Kayode's pace and finishing ability mean that he has the potential to be the Super Eagles' first-choice frontman before too long.

He made two gambles last summer - moving to City and then on to Girona - and unless the forward can begin to make the kind of impact he did against Depor on a more consistent basis, then Kayode may regret leaving the comfort of Austria in a World Cup year.