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Kalu, Ebuehi biggest gainers, Etebo a big loser

Festus Abu

Gernot Rohr must have been licking his lips when Samuel Kalu was linked with a move to his old club Bordeaux.

The summer transfer market closed in England on Thursday with no Nigerian  making a  move to a top Premier League outfit.

Although the transfer window in Spain,  Germany, France and  Italy  goes  on  until August 31, there is no indication that any Nigerian player will  make a major move.

 The veteran German manager must have prayed silently for Les Girondins not to make a U-turn if Belgian Juliper League  side Gent decided to dig  their heels in  over their prized Nigerian  wide-man.

After agreeing a five-year deal worth a  reported €8m on Sunday,  Kalu was unveiled by the Ligue 1 giants on Tuesday.  Bordeaux’s Uruguayan  manager  Gustavo Poyet  signed the former Slovakia-based attacker,   who  scored seven goals in 32 appearances for Gent in the Belgian Juliper League last season,   as a direct replacement for Brazil winger Malcom,  who  swapped  the French side for La Liga powerhouse  Barcelona this summer for €30m.

Rohr has since hailed the 20-year-old’s move to Matmut Atlantique, where he  achieved a cult status while playing as defender for Le club au scapulaire for 12 years – and later  managed  them   to the 1996  UEFA Cup final.

Etebo

The 65-year-old hinted in an interview with Girondins4ever published on Wednesday that he would give Kalu a chance to play his way into the Super Eagles by involving him in the Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Kalu’s teammate at Gent Moses Simon incidentally moved to Spain to join struggling  La Liga club Levante in a five-year-old reportedly worth €5m.

 Rohr will  also be excited that the 23-year-old, who missed out on his Russia 2018 World Cup squad due to injury, has finally realised his ambition to move to a  club  where he could realise his full potential playing in La Liga.

Other notable Nigerian players  who changed clubs in the summer are Ahmed Musa, Oghenekaro Etebo, Leon Balogun, Tyronne Ebuehi and Kelechi Nwakali.

Dutch-born Ebuehi, who  began his professional career at ADO Den Haag and scored once in 82 appearances for  The Hague  side, signed a five-year deal to join Portuguese powerhouse  Benfica before the  Russia 2018 World Cup  for an undisclosed fee.

Certainly, joining Benfica from ADO Den Haag is a big step up in the 22-year-old defender’s career. He will be  strutting his stuff  at   the 64,642-capacity  Estadio da Luz  in Lisbon  after  returning   from his long hip injury lay-off. The right-back played at the  15,00-capacity Cars Jeans Stadion home ground of ADO Den Haag for four years.

Etebo, who was one of  Russia 2018 performers,  made a shock move to English second tier club Stoke City   from Portuguese club Feirense on a five-year deal reportedly worth £6m before the World Cup began.

The 22-year-old was loaned to Spanish club  La Palmas by Feirense obviously to help them escape relegation from La Liga, and thereafter seal a permanent deal to remain at Estadio Gran Canaria.

But La Palmas failed to beat the drop, and their  Nigerian loanee would not go down with them as he returned to his parent club in Portugal.

Prior to his move to Stoke, a raft of clubs were  linked  with the former Warri Wolves  midfielder, who made the 2018 World Cup XI  after the first round of matches.

Portuguese Primeira Liga giants Porto, Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce  and  mid-table Premier League club Leicester City were  said to have  made moves to sign the  box-to-box midfielder.

However, the player opted for the Potters, who are  relying on  him  to spearhead  their promotion push this season.

Etebo, who    helped the Eagles break up play and drive  the attack, has come in for withering criticisms from  many of his fans for settling for second tier league football.

 And some of  the  Potters fans, who were  excited by their new  mobile and energetic signee’s impressive performances in the World Cup, are of the opinion that the Nigeria star is too good to play in their    club, who got relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season. Some of his critics  feel he made a hasty decision  to put pen-to-paper  to play at the  Britannia Stadium for the next  five years. They believe  his performance  at the  World Cup could have attracted the big sides.

Some of Balogun’s fans are critical of his  move from Mainz 05 to Premier League strugglers Brighton after his contract at the German Bundesliga side expired at the end of last season.  The 30-year-old German-born Nigeria centre-back  joined the Seagulls as a free agent.

Nwakali joined  Porto’s second  team  on a season-long  loan deal from Arsenal last month.

The Portuguese powerhouse  have an option to make the deal permanent next year, meaning Arsenal, who signed the  19 year-old midfielder in 2016, don’t believe he can make it at the Emirates Stadium.  The Gunners had previously   loaned the player  to  MVV Maastricht and VVV Venlo.

Although Rohr  has backed Musa’s decision to dump Leicester for a big-money move to Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr this month, the former Burkina Faso manager must have been left seething with anger as one of his best players made the move to a footballing backwater like Saudi.

The  Nigeria winger, who made a club record £16m transfer to Leicester from CSKA Moscow in  2016,   endured a torrid time at King Power Stadium where he was rendered redundant.

The 25-year-old scored only two goals in 21 Premier League appearances before  returning to CSKA  in January on a  loan deal.

Musa has come under a firestorm of criticisms from many of his fans for “ making a wrong move”, and  goalkeeping great Peter Rufai  is one of  his most strident critics.

 However, Rohr will be happy with Ebuehi and Kalu, who  are arguably among   the biggest gainers, and  Etebo  arguably  one of  the highest losers  in the summer market so far.

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