Club football is finally back and clubs have been spending a lot of money in the transfer market to bolster their rosters – but not all the great deals have to break the bank. Several players are without a team after their contracts with previous clubs expired at the beginning of July. From the Nigerian corner, PUNCH Sports Extras JOHNNY EDWARD has put together an out-of-contract XI made up of the stars of Super Eagles in a 3-5-2 formation as we approach the September deadline.
Daniel Akpeyi (goalkeeper)
After a four-year stint, Akpeyi left the South African giants Kaizer Chiefs, after making 69 appearances for the Amakhosi.
Akpeyi made twelve appearances for Chiefs last season, with the Nigerian clearing five times and conceding seven goals.
He played 175 games for Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs in the Premier Soccer League, conceding 168 goals and keeping 63 clean sheets.
The 35-year-old, who has been practicing in South Africa since 2015, when he joined Chippa from local side Warri Wolves, is believed to be on the radar of PSL clubs Sekhukhune United and Royal AM.
Wherever he ends up, Akpeyi will bring a wealth of experience and quality as he continues his successful career.
He has played 19 games for the Super Eagles since making his debut for the three-time African champion in 2015.
Shehu Abdulahi (right back)
After leaving Turkish Bursaspor in 2020, Abdulahi spent two seasons with Cyprus side Omonia Nicosia, where he was part of the squad that won the Cypriot Cup in May.
The Nigeria international would make any defense more solid, but his inconsistency means clubs could be wary of the defender, who can also act as a right-back.
Abdulahi, 29, is one of Nigeria’s trusted defenders and should contact one of the European sides before the transfer window closes.
Sunday Mba (midfield)
The winner’s goalscorer against Burkina Faso in the 2013 AFCON final. On Sunday, Mbah was crucial to Nigeria’s victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
He was loaned to Rangers for the World Cup. After the World Cup, Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers went back and forth as he wanted to leave for Bastia.
In December 2014, the midfielder signed for France’s Bastia, after which he left for Yeni Malatyaspor in 2015. The 32-year-old is currently without a club.
Godfrey Oboabona (Central Defender)
Oboabona is available for free following his departure from Georgian Dinamo Batumi in 2021. The 31-year-old was considered a future star just a few years ago after playing for Nigeria at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. topic in the free agent market, with Scandinavian clubs reportedly eager to take over his services.
Juwon Oshaniwa (left back)
He was part of the squad that won the 2013 edition of AFCON in South Africa. The former Sharks left-back was also part of the 2014 World Cup roster, he dumped the now-defunct Sharks FC for Ashdod FC in Israel.
The 30-year-old then moved to Hearts in 2015, but that marked the downturn in his career as he could only make 24 appearances after spending two years in Scotland. In 2018, Juwon was signed by Akwa United, where he made 12 appearances. He has been without a club since 2019.
Ramon Azeez (Centerfield)
Azeez has been without a club since he was released from Granada in 2021, which is quite surprising. At 29, Azeez has plenty of years left in the tank.
The dynamic midfielder, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup, is rumored to be returning to Segunda clubs, but the former Granada player has expressed a desire to play top football. However, his talent is not in question.
Mikel Obi (Midfield)
Former Chelsea star Mikel is one of the biggest Nigerian names on the free market. The mercurial midfielder made 374 appearances for the Blues, scoring six goals.
He won a Champions League title, one Europa League, two Premier League titles, three FA Cup titles and one Carabao Cup title with Chelsea. At 34 years old, Mikel will bring his winning mentality to his next club.
He last played for Kuwait SC in 2021 after previous spells with Tianjin Teda, Middlesbrough, Tranzonspor and Stoke.
Mikel Agu (Centerfield)
A bit of a forgotten man, Agu is currently without a club after his Spanish team Fuenlabrada released him this summer. He made an assist in 15 appearances before being released.
He joined the Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes in January, but only stayed for six months.
At 29, Agu still has a lot to give, but it may not be just in the biggest leagues.
Interest in the ball-winning midfielder isn’t huge, but second-class clubs could extend his career.
Ogenyi Onazi (Centerfield)
Onazi said goodbye to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Adalah FC after leading the club back to the top division.
With an Italian Cup title, the AFCON title with Nigeria and the Lithuanian league title with FK Zalgiris Vilnius, the 29-year-old would still have plenty to offer but he has yet to close a deal.
According to his agent, Ayodele Makinwa, interest in Onazi is widespread, with European clubs looking to secure the defensive midfielder with a short contract.
Onazi was the star of the Super Eagles with his impressive displays in the middle of Stephen Keshi’s side that won the 2013 AFCON and reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Brown Idea (Attacker)
Coach Ilhan Palut tempted Ideye into a move to Turkish club Goztepe, promising the former Dynamo Kyiv striker would be the club’s top scorer, but the Nigerian never thrived at the club as he scored just three goals and two assists in 32 games.
Ideye was part of the 2013 AFCON-winning Eagles squad, scoring in the 4-0 semi-final win over Mali as the Nigerians rode to a third continental triumph in South Africa.
Cunning Igbonu (Attacker)
Former Midtjylland forward Igbonu left FK Nizhny Novgorod four weeks after signing a one-year deal with the Russian club in March over fears for his safety.
The 31-year-old became the first Nigerian footballer to leave the Russian Premier League as a result of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, using a FIFA rule that allowed players to cancel their contracts with Ukrainian and Russian clubs for the remainder of the 2021/19 season. 22.
He only made two appearances for the club before his departure.