Emmanuel Dennis and nine other Nigerians relegated this season

Ultimately that is what makes football so special it is the highs as well as the lows. Pulse Sports has combed some of Europe’s best leagues to find players of Nigerian descent who would, unfortunately, be playing in a lower division next season.

Emmanuel Dennis and nine other Nigerians facing relegation

David Okereke - Venezia

The city of Venice in Italy is renowned for its beautiful canals and thriving tourist scene. However, the city recently added football to its attractions, with Venezia playing their first season in the Serie A.

Unfortunately for the newcomers, following an underwhelming campaign, they will be dropping back to Serie B. Lagos born striker David Okereke has been one of the better players in the fold, contributing to the team’s attack with his physical approach and hold-up play.

Although he finished the campaign with just seven (7) goals, Okereke, who is on loan from Club Brugge, might have done enough to earn himself another season in the Serie A, with reports claiming that a few top-flight sides, with Genoa, in particular, considering a move for the striker.

Tyronne Ebuehi- Venezia

Unlike Okereke, Tyronne Ebuehi has not made an indelible mark on his team. With a series of poorly timed injuries plaguing his time in Italy, Ebuehi made only 19 appearances across all competitions in what has undoubtedly been a difficult time in Venice.

Hopefully, in Serie B, he can find the form which convinced Venezia to sign him from Portuguese giants Benfica.

Joel Obi - Salernitana

Former Super Eagles midfielder Joel Obi has suffered his second relegation in three years with Salernitana. Obi just signed a one-year deal with the newly-promoted side on a free transfer but was unable to help his new side to stay up.

It remains to be seen if he will stay with Saletinana, who has an option to extend the 16 capped Nigerian’s contract by one year.

Emmanuel Dennis - Watford

Super Eagles forward Emmanuel Dennis has been one of the shining lights for recently relegated Watford. The striker, who only joined the Hornets last season from Club Brugge, has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, terrorising defences with his direct running and eye for goal.

Contributing directly to the percent of Watford’s goals this season, Dennis has done more than enough to secure himself another season in the Premier League, with teams like Arsenal and West Ham reportedly targeting the 24-year-old striker.

Oghenekaro Etebo - Watford

It has been a difficult season for Oghenekaro Etebo. After impressing in the early parts of the season with his tough tackling and occasional flashes of brilliance in the middle of the park, he suffered an unfortunate injury which kept him out for four months.

By the time Etebo returned, Watford was firmly rooted in a relegation struggle, and there was little to nothing that he could do.

The midfielder, who is on loan at Watford, will return to his parent club Stoke City and could face off against Super Eagles teammates Maduka Okoye and William Troost Ekong in the course of the Championship season.

William Troost-Ekong - Watford

Unlike Etebo, who missed most of the season through injury, Troost-Ekong fell down the pecking order due to managerial changes. Since the appointment of Roy Hodgson and the subsequent signing of Samir from Udinese, Troost-Ekong has only played a bit-part role for the Hornets.

It remains to be seen if he will remain at Vicarage road or if anyone would take a punt with the Super Eagles defender whose contract runs out in 2023.

Samuel Kalu - Watford

Samuel Kalu has, unfortunately, jumped one sinking ship only to land in another one. The pacy winger left struggling Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in January in a move many touted as his big break as Watford desperately needed offensive reinforcements.

The move has not worked out for Kalu, who has only played two games since his mid-season move to Vicarage Road.

The story could be far from over as both Emmanuel Dennis certainly and Ismaila Sarr are likely to remain Premier League players next season Kalu could prove to be invaluable as Watford looks to bounce back to the Premier League immediately.

Festy Ebosele - Derby County

Wayne Rooney almost did the impossible with Championship side Derby County, and although they eventually suffered relegation, the Manchester United legend definitely turned more than a few heads with his first full season in charge of the Rams.

With the club facing a triple-threat of problems, going into administration, receiving a 21 points deduction, and being slammed with a transfer embargo, Rooney was forced to promote several youth players to the first team as a few players had to leave to balance the books.

One such player was 19-year-old fullback Festy Oseiwe Ebosele. The Irish born defender impressed in his first senior campaign and quickly became a key cog in Rooney’s machine with his lung-bursting overlapping runs and relentless pressing.

The teenage sensation also played his part on the other side of the pitch, finishing the season with four-goal involvements (two goals and two assists) in a low scoring Derby County side. His performances have not gone unnoticed, and he recently secured a move to Serie A outfit Udinese.

Azubuike Okechukwu - Yeni Malatyaspor

With only five wins all season, Yeni Malatyaspor have been relegated from the Turkish Super Lig. Former Flying Eagles star Azubuike Okechukwu did well to come back from injury and star for the relegation bound side.

On loan from Istanbul Basaksehir, Okechukwu will most likely remain in the top flight of Turkish football, with his form in the second half of the campaign being good enough for a Super Eagles call up.

Aminu Umar-Rizespor

Staying in Turkey for our final entry, Aminu Umar and Rizespor have endured a stop-start season recording 10 wins and scoring more goals than two of the sides above them in the table.

Ultimately their terrible showing in defence is primarily to blame for their relegation. Umar finished the season with 3 goal contributions and would most likely remain with the side as his paltry return is unlikely to earn him a big move away.


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