Nigeria's national senior team, the Super Eagles, have had a fair share of players who have featured for various clubs in the Premier League over the years.
Some of these players have gone on to become revered icons of these clubs in the course of their football careers in England.
At their retirement, these Super Eagles have made a name for themselves and for their clubs, as their performances captured thrilling moments for fans, won titles for their clubs and scored great goals that still live in the memory of followers of the league.
In this article, we'll find out the Premier League team between Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool that has had the highest number of Nigerian internationals playing for them years ago.
Super Eagles players who played for Manchester United
This will come as a surprise to many, but it is worthy of note that before the loan spell of Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua to Man United in January of 2020, no Nigerian Super Eagles player had featured for the Red Devils. In other words, Odion Ighalo was the first and only Nigerian to have ever played for Manchester United at the time of writing.
We believe in the near future other Nigerians will have the opportunity to represent the Red Devils and add to the list of Super Eagles to have played for the Manchester club.
Super Eagles players that played for Liverpool
Chelsea loaned Moses to Liverpool in September, 2013 due to lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge. He scored on his debut on 16 September against Swansea City in a match that ended 2-2.
However, the form of Raheem Sterling during the 2013/14 season made life difficult for the 2013 AFCON winner as games were hard to come by for the winger. Moses only featured in 22 games of which only nine were starts under Brendan Rogers.
No other Super Eagles player has again played for Liverpool. Taiwo Awoniyi could have been one but as a Liverpool player on loan to a handful of clubs in his early career, and he was not yet invited to the Super Eagles team. He got his call-up to the Nigeria senior team as a Union Berlin player.
Super Eagles players that played for Chelsea
Babayaro was the first Nigerian Super Eagles player to feature for Chelsea. The 1996 Olympic gold medallist with Nigeria, spent eight years at Chelsea between 1997 and 2005.
Interestingly, he was a Chelsea player for the first one-and-half year of Abramovich’s era at the club.
He represented the Blues in more than 200 matches, however, he found playing time hard to come by after Jose Mourinho joined the club one year into Abramovich’s takeover. He had no choice but to move on to Newcastle in January of 2005.
Mikel Obi joined Chelsea ahead of the 2006/07 season. The 2013 AFCON winner who played as a defensive midfielder went on to spend more than a decade with the Stamford Bridge side.
Obi made 249 appearances for the Blues and interestingly, he scored only one goal in his entire Chelsea career where he won everything a player can win with Chelsea. His trophies with Chelsea includes:
- 2x Premier League titles in 2009/10 and 2014/15
- 3x FA Cup titles in 2006/07, 2008/09, and 2001/12
- 1x UEFA Champions League title in 2011/12
- 1x UEFA Europa League title in 2012/13
- 1x League Cup title in 2006/07
Mikel Obi left Chelsea in 2017 and joined the Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA.
Victor Moses is one of the Nigerian players in the Premier League who has featured for several clubs in England.
After making his league debut for Wigan Athletic in 2010, two years later he caught the attention of Chelsea scouts and moved over to Stamford Bridge to play alongside another Super Eagle, Mikel Obi.
Moses' first season was fair enough, bagging 10 goals across all the competitions he featured in for Chelsea. However, he was constantly sent on loans to various clubs like Liverpool, Stoke City, and West Ham United.
In 2013, Moses was instrumental to the Blues Europa League final appearance having bagged key goals that aided the club's progression, but he did not feature in the final. Nonetheless, Chelsea defeated Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam on 15 May as Moses won the Europa League title with Chelsea.
Overall, Moses made 87 appearances for Chelsea, and scored seven goals.
Omeruo joined Chelsea from Standard Liege in January 2012. The Super Eagles defender then played the next seven years on loan. He never featured for Chelsea competitively in all his years at the club, rather as a loanee at ADO Den Haag, Middlesbrough, Kasimpasa, Alanyaspor and Leganes.
Like Mikel and Moses, the 2013 AFCON winner with Nigeria was on Chelsea’s books during the Abramovich era as owner of the club.
Nigerian international, Sarki, was a Chelsea player between 2006 and 2010 but never featured for the Blues competitively. He spent four years on loan at Belgian club Westerlo.
The winger made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2014, and has four caps for Nigeria.
Emenalo joined Chelsea as Chief Scout in 2007 and left in 2017 as Technical Director. He was one of Roman Abramovich’s most trusted staff at Chelsea. He was instrumental in the signing of major players like Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Fabregas and lots more during his time at the club.
Emenalo featured fourteen times for the Super Eagles and played at the USA 94 World Cup.
Abramovich’s era at Chelsea coincided with major successes for Nigerians at the time with the Blues.
Having gone through the list, you can see that Chelsea is the Premier League club with the most Super Eagles ever.
Worthy mentions of Super Eagles icons that featured in the Premier League
Nwankwo Kanu is regarded as one of the best forwards Nigeria have ever had. Along with Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry in the unique Arsenal generation that made history in the Premier League, they represented one of the deadliest attacking lines in the history of English football.
Kanu was a member of the Arsenal Invincibles that went on to win the 2003/04 title without losing a single game in the process.
However, Kanu did not only make history for Arsenal, he did his magic while donning the shirts of other Premier League outfits as well. He scored the only goal in the 2008 FA Cup final to give his Portsmouth side the title on that day.
The former African footballer of the year who is now serving as Chairman of Enyimba football club in 2023, was special in so many ways in his playing days. He retired from football and became one of the best Nigerians to have ever featured in the Premier League.
Talent wise, there were not too many naturally gifted players other than Jay-Jay Okocha in his playing days. The ex-Super Eagles midfielder left PSG in 2002 and everyone expected to see him at a big club playing in the Champions League, but to the dismay of Nigerians and other football fans, Okocha decided to join Bolton Wanderers and eventually become the team’s captain and best player at the time. He scored 14 goals in 124 appearances while at Bolton to add to some of the best goals he has scored across his career.
Okocha also had stints at Hull City in 2007, but injuries and lack of fitness did not help his course at the club. He was able to feature 18 times without scoring before he finally retired from football following his release from Hull City.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago