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Iwobi, Bonke, Ogu: Nigeria’s biggest winners and losers from the January transfer window

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Iwobi, Bonke, Ogu: Nigeria’s biggest winners and losers from the January transfer window by : 9:53 am On February 2, 2022

Iwobi, Bonke, Ogu: Nigeria’s biggest winners and losers from the January transfer window

The January transfer window is closed, but there were a lot of moves before it shut, including many Nigerian stars.

While some of these players made an upward move, others downgraded to get their careers back on track again.

As a result, Soccernet takes a look at Nigeria’s biggest winners and losers from the just-concluded transfer window.

Winner

Innocent Bonke: Bonke ended his four-year stint with Swedish champions Malmo to sign for Lorient on a free transfer. The 26-year-old has been with Malmo since 2017, winning two Swedish League titles, including the recent one.

However, he decided to move on in January after his contract expired. Although Malmo were willing to offer him a new deal, Bonke instead went for a new challenge.

This appears to be the right decision as the move to Lorient offers him the opportunity to play in Europe’s top five leagues, which thereby raises his profile.

However, he will hope his arrival can help Les Merlus avoid relegation from the top-flight. Lorient currently sits in 19th position, two points from safety.

Loser 

Alex Iwobi: Iwobi did not change clubs, but things are not looking good for him even after Everton sacked Rafael Benitez for Frank Lampard.

Iwobi joined Everton in 2019 for a fee in the region of 35m pounds, but his performances since arriving have been below par.

The Nigerian international has played under four different managers at Goodison Park, yet he failed to impress under any of them.

Iwobi will be hoping to turn things around under Lampard, but that may be difficult after the former Chelsea star brought in Donny Van De Beek on loan from Manchester United and Dele Alli from Tottenham.

The arrival of these two players means Iwobi’s game time is likely to reduce if he is unable to convince Lampard quickly.

He has made 13 league appearances for the side this season, scoring one goal.

Loser 

Simy Nwankwo: Again, the only thing constant in football is how things change quickly. Last season, Simy’s name was on the lips of many Nigerians after he scored 20 Serie A goals for Crotone.

Although the goals were not enough to save Crotone from relegation, which makes the feat more impressive, it made him Nigeria’s top scorer in a single campaign in any of Europe’s top five leagues.

Knowing it would be a mistake to allow such a prolific goalscorer play in Serie B, newly-promoted Salernitana decided to take Simy on loan from Crotone with an option to buy permanently.

However, Simy’s time with the Garnets has mainly been disappointing, with just one goal in 19 league appearances.

Salernitana decided to cut their losses by sending Simy out on loan to Parma, who are languishing in the bottom half of Serie B.

It means Simy has gone from one of the top strikers in Italy’s top-flight to a player trying to find his feet in the second division in just 18 months.

Also read: Kalu, Maja, Ighalo and other Nigerian stars that moved in the January transfer window

Winner 

John Ogu: Ogu is one of the biggest winners not because of his international career but because he finally has a club.

The 33-year-old has been without a club since he left Saudi Arabian side Al-Adalah in January 2020. However, after two years of waiting, he finally has a new club after linking up with Israel’s Premier League side Hapoel Nof HaGalil Football Club.

Ogu already knows about the Israeli League, having played for Hapoel Beer Sheva.

Winner 

Josh Maja: The last few months have been difficult for Maja, but he will be hoping to kickstart his season after sealing a loan move to Stoke City from Bordeaux.

Maja has not really cut it at Bordeaux since he arrived from Sunderland in January 2019. The Nigerian spent the second half of last campaign with Fulham, but he could not help the Cottagers avoid relegation from the Premier League.

However, the move to Bet 365 Stadium is another opportunity for him to enjoy his football again.

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