Eagles EPL Returnees: Ighalo Seeks to End No Goal Jinx After Martins, Ameobi Fired Blanks
Former Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo will be looking to become the first Nigerian player to make a success of a return to the English Premier League after making history as the first to sign for Manchester United.
Having completed a loan switch from Shanghai Shenhua on the last day of the January transfer window, Complete Sports’ SULAIMAN ALAO takes a look at former Nigeria internationals who had staged a return to the EPL but failed to make the desired impact.
Movement: Newcastle – Wolfsburg – Rubin Kazan – Birmingham City
Martins’ first EPL outing was with Newcastle United in 2006. The power-playing striker then had stints with German side Wolfsburg (2009) and Russian side Rubin Kazan (2010) before returning to the EPL on a loan move to Birmingham City on 31st January, 2011.
The former Super Eagles forwaes had requested for the move to England to join Birmingham City in order to be nearer to his family following the birth of his child and with the hope of making his loan move permanent at the end of the season.
Obagol, as he is fondly called, made his debut in a 2-1 win against Stoke City playing for 57 minutes. He then went on to feature in three other games clocking 250 minutes without scoring any goal. He was on the substitute bench in two other
Birmingham however, got relegated at the end of the season after finishing in the 18th position with 39 points prompting
Martins to return to Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League.
Martins thereafter, went on to star for Levante, Seattle Sounders and Shanghai Shenhua.
Movement: Newcastle – Gaziantep – Crystal Palace
After his stint with Turkish side, Gaziantep, Ameobi returned to the Premier League on a free transfer by signing for Crystal Palace On 29th, January 2015 on a deal that ran till the end of the season.
Having made his debut as a late substitute for Joe Ledly in the 87th minute in the 1-2 home loss to Arsenal, the Super Eagles striker to the 2010 FIFA World Cup went on to feature in three other games – all as a late substitute – totalling 38 minutes without scoring any goal. He was on the substitute bench in eight other EPL matches.
Crystal Palace finished 10th in the league while the former Nigeria international was released on expiry of his contract.
Ameobi then moved to the Championship to play for Bolton Wanderers and later Fleetwood Town and Notts County where he ended football career.
Movement: Everton – Fenerbahce – Norwich City
Having featured for Everton in his first EPL move in 2002 where he spent eight seasons, Yobo moved to Turkey to join Fenerbahce in 2010.
The former Super Eagles skipper then returned to England on loan at Norwich City for the remainder of the season on 30th January, 2014, with a view to sealing a permanent move in the summer.
He marked his debut for Norwich City against Manchester City on 8 February. He started and played 90 minutes in all the eight EPL matches he featured in,clocking 720 minutes and coming out with 2 wins, 2 draws and 4 losses.
Norwich City however got relegated at the end of the 2013/2014 season after finishing in the 18th position on the EPL table ending with 33 points in 38 matches.
The episode marked the end of Yobo’s club as well as international football career after starring for the Super Eagles at the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil.
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