By Peter Akinbo.
The various leagues across Europe are well underway in the 2022/23 season and some Nigerian names are garnering a lot of attention with their performances in front of goal. Some Nigerians are at the top of the goal charts in three of these leagues and PUNCH Sports Extra takes a look at some of these names who stand a chance of finishing top among Nigerian strikers in Europe at the end of the season.
Paul Onuachu – 16 goals (Genk, Southampton)
After a slow start to this campaign, the Owerri-born striker who scored 23 last season grabbed another 16 goals in 20 matches in Belgium and he looked on course for another spectacular season with the Genk before he made the move to English side Southampton.
Onuachu has only made one appearance for the Saints coming off the bench in their Saturday fixture against Brentford but could not find the back of the net as they lost 3-0 to the Bees.
Onuachu will be keen to find the back off the net in England and maintain his lead at the top of the Nigerian scorers’ charts. The 28-year-old scored 85 goals in 134 appearances for Genk before his exit in January.
Chuba Akpom – 16 goals (Middlesbrough)
Championship’s top scorer Chuba Akpom added two more to his tally on Saturday as Middlesbrough comfortably saw off struggling Blackpool.
Akpom scored one in each half to take his league tally to 16 and tie Onuachu for first place on the Nigerian goalscorers’ list albeit in 23 games, two games more than the Saints’ forward.
The 27-year-old sits top of the division’s scoring charts and Carrick wants him to keep going after watching a fifth home league win in a row.
Boro boss Carrick said, “It was a terrific goal from Chuba, a great individual goal and just what is needed sometimes in a game like that because it can nudge you ahead.
“I liked the second goal, the team goal, from goalkeeper Zack Steffen all the way through the pitch and then to finish it off with a great combination of Chuba and Riley (McGree).”
Victor Osimhen – 14 goals (Napoli)
In his third season in Italy, Osimhen is leading the scoring charts in Serie A and is currently among the top Nigerian goalscorers in Europe with 14 goals in just 16 league games.
This includes five goals in his last four league games including a brace scored against Juventus in a 5-1 thrilling victory, helping the Partenopei to claim crucial wins against Sampdoria, Bianconeri, Salernitana and Roma as they chase the Scudetto.
The 24-year-old, who plays as a striker for Napoli has been in premium form this season, having three assists also to his credit and this form has linked him to a possible Manchester United move this summer and is estimated to be worth more than £100m.
Folarin Balogun – 14 goals (Stade de Reims)
Arsenal forward Leon Balogun is enjoying a remarkable campaign on loan at Reims this season as the 21-year-old Gunners talent leapfrogged Kylian Mbappe to the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts this week.
The Nigeria-eligible scored a hat-trick against Lorient on Wednesday, taking him to 14 league goals in 20 games for the season as he continues to enjoy his time in France.
Ademola Lookman – 12 goals (Atalanta)
Nigeria’s football star Ademola Lookman sits at number five in the overall Nigerian scorers list but is however, the second highest goal scorer in Serie A this season, just behind Victor Osimhen with 12 goals so far.
Lookman, who plays as a winger for Atalanta, found the back of the net 12 times from 20 matches played for the club. He also has three assists to his credit so far this season and is the only one on this that is not an out-and-out striker.
Terem Moffi – 12 goals (Lorient, Nice)
Terem Moffi is the sixth Nigerian professional footballer with highest goals scored so far in Europe this season. Moffi, who started the season for Ligue 1 club Lorient but made a winter move to another French side, Nice, has garnered 12 goals from 18 league matches played so far.
This has him tied for third in Ligue 1 with Jonathan David, Neymar Junior, and Wissam Ben Yedder, as Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe sits in second place with 13 goals and Balogun tops with 14.
Moffi is only the Nigeria international that has averaged a goal every 106 minutes in the new season, netting braces against Clermont Foot and Lens before strikes against Lyon and Auxerre.