Ranking the top Nigerians of 2020-21

Ndidi Iheanacho Simy OsimhenGoal/Getty
  • Dominic Solanke of BournemouthMichael Steele/Getty Images

    10Dominic Solanke

    Solanke certainly had a point to prove this season, having netted just three goals across his two previous seasons with Bournemouth as they tumbled out of the top flight.

    A highly rated talent as a youngster with Chelsea and Liverpool, he won the Golden Boot at the U-20 World Cup in 2017, but has largely failed to build on that promise in the intervening years.

    This season, however, the 23-year-old finally looked comfortable, scoring 15 goals and registering a further eight assists as Bournemouth secured a place in the playoffs.

    He’s also looked effective when called upon to deputise on the left flank by Cherries coach Jonathan Woodgate.

  • Ovie Ejaria ReadingGetty

    9Ovie Ejaria

    Another eye-catching campaign from the elegant Reading man, who’s a breath-taking talent when he’s on his game.

    No player still in the division at the season’s end averaged more than Ejaria’s 2.7 dribbles per game, while he also had a hand in eight goals throughout the campaign.

    Nigeria surely need to incorporate him into their plans as soon as possible, and he can be at the top of this list in 12 months’ time if he brings a little more consistency to his game.

  • Victor Osimhen NapoliGetty Images

    8Victor Osimhen

    The jury’s out on whether Osimhen’s maiden season in Italy has been a success story, but that’s primarily because of his eye-watering transfer fee.

    For €70 million, fans were surely expecting much more than his 10 goals, even if Osimhen did end the season on a strong note with a purple patch before the campaign’s conclusion.

    Despite the reasons for optimism, there’s no getting away from the fact that this was a disappointing year for Napoli, who missed out on the Champions League and sacked head coach Gennaro Gattuso.

  • Felix Uduokhai - WolfsburgGetty

    7Felix Uduokhai

    The towering young defender remains uncapped by Nigeria, although having been called up by Germany for their senior side in late 2020, the Super Eagles need to move fast.

    He was a solid operator for Augsburg this season, demonstrating his aerial menace and his quality with the ball at his feet regularly as the Fuggerstadter evaded relegation.

    The 23-year-old’s season ended early due to a ankle injury, but he should return stronger next term. However, having been linked with a move to Dortmund, will he still be at Augsburg by then?

  • Terem MoffiGetty

    6Terem Moffi

    New Nigeria striker who ended the season at FC Lorient with 14 goals which, for the record, eclipsed Osimhen’s 2019-20 season with LOSC Lille (albeit during an abridged campaign).

    Moffi took his time to adapt to Ligue 1 following his arrival from Belgian football with Kortrijk, where—after scoring on his debut—he didn’t net again for the next nine matches.

    However, from December 23, he went on a remarkable scoring run of seven goals in eight games, and proved influential as Les Merlus avoided relegation.

  • Michael Olise - ReadingGetty Images

    5Michael Olise

    Olise has surely proved this season that he’s destined for the top of the game.

    He is elegant, composed, and is a genuine difference-maker in the final third, having had a hand in 19 goals this season. It’s an impressive tally, particularly for a midtable side.

    As well as England and France, he’s also eligible for Nigeria and Algeria.

  • Arnaut Danjuma, BournemouthGetty

    4Arnaut Danjuma

    Kicked on following his encouraging showings in Bournemouth’s relegation campaign in the Premier League with some excellent performances in the second tier as the Cherries ultimately fell short in the playoffs.

    The wideman ended the season with 17 goals—an impressive number for a winger—and weighed in with seven assists.

    He wasn’t able to complete the job with Bournemouth, but his performances have caught the attention of the Nigeria federation, who are believed to be keen on snaring him from the Netherlands.

  • Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester CityAlex Pantling/Getty Images

    3Kelechi Iheanacho

    An FA Cup winner with Leicester City, Iheanacho was influential as the Foxes reached the final.

    The event itself at Wembley Stadium may have passed him by, but during the run-up to the final he made decisive contributions against Manchester United (a brace) and Southampton (the winner), becoming the all-time top African scorer in the competition in the process.

    In the league, he bagged a career-high 12 goals—finally realising the potential he showed as a youngster—but it ultimately wasn’t enough to send the Foxes into the Champions League.

  • Simy Nwankwo of CrotoneGetty Images

    2Simy Nwankwo

    Making the top three is frontman Nwankwo, who enjoyed a remarkable goalscoring record in the top flight this season.

    Despite playing for relegation certs Crotone—who ended the season in 19th place—Simy still registered 20 goals, putting him joint fifth in the overall scoring charts.

    He broke the record for goals scored by a Nigerian player in a single season in a major European league, and eclipsed Obafemi Martins as the Super Eagles’ all-time top scorer in the Italian top flight.

    What does the future hold for the towering frontman following his superb season?

  • Wilfred Ndidi - Leicester CityGetty Images

    1Wilfred Ndidi

    Completing our Leicester trio, it has to be Ndidi, who has continued to go from strength to strength this term.

    The Foxes simply aren’t the same team without him, and the Nigerian once again ends the year as the most prolific tackler in the division.

    Only one player—Leeds United’s Liam Cooper—averaged more interceptions per match than the Super Eagle, and he’s also mighty unlucky not to be playing Champions League football next term.