Odion Ighalo called time on his international career this weekend, drawing the curtain on a four-year tenure with the Super Eagles in which he scored 16 goals in 35 appearances.
Despite being criticised during his time with Nigeria—notably when he missed a decisive sitter as the West Africans fell to Argentina during the World Cup—Ighalo goes out on a high following the Africa Cup of Nations.
He scored five goals in the continental showpiece in Egypt, earning him the Golden Boot, and now goes out on a high.
However, how can Gernot Rohr replace the striker in whom he’s shown faith throughout his time at the helm?
Here are five options…
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He was cut from Rohr’s selection after netting just once in 30 Premier League outings last term, but at only 22, he has time on his side.
If Iheanacho can rediscover the form he showed earlier in his career, at Leicester or elsewhere, then he can return to his rightful spot as Nigeria’s leading man.
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The towering forward may have—inadvertently—become Nigeria’s leading man following Ighalo’s exit, having been one of only two other strikers on Rohr’s list.
However, he’d change the style of football Nigeria play—being such a towering target man—while his relatively meagre playing time at the Afcon suggests Rohr isn’t completely convinced.
The attacker is only 20, and while highly rated, can’t yet be considered a viable leading man for the national side.
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Unlike the other players on this list, Onyekuru isn’t a natural striker.
He’s made his name as a wideman during his career, while he was also trialled—and excelled—as left wing-back during a loan spell at Anderlecht.
However, what Onyekuru does have in his locker is goals; he scored 14 in the Super Lig for Galatasaray last term, and 27 across three seasons in the Belgian leagues with Eupen and then the Purple & White.
He’s found gametime hard to come by out wide—playing for just 12 minutes at the Nations Cup—and with Samuel Chukwueze and Samuel Kalu only likely to get stronger, a move to a more central role could suit all parties.
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However, two years down the line, despite having featured for the Three Lions in friendlies, he’s yet to make a competitive debut and hasn’t been called up since.
Now back at Chelsea after a productive loan spell at Aston Villa, Abraham may find himself back in Gareth Southgate’s sights, but if not, he could be a replacement for—and even an upgrade on—Ighalo.