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Musiala, Alaba, Saka & 12 current European stars who could have played for Nigeria

12:44 SAST 2022/10/11
Saka Musiala Alaba
GOAL’s Ed Dove profiles 12 European stars who could have represented the Super Eagles
  • Jamal Musiala Bayern Munich 2022-23

    Jamal Musiala

    Gernot Rohr commented last week that he would have loved to have recruited Musiala to represent the Super Eagles, and actively sought to integrate the teenage prodigy into the Nigeria set-up.

    Ultimately, Nigeria failed in their bid to recruit the Bayern Munich wonderkid, and the Eagles’ loss is Germany’s gain.

    He won’t be the last potential Super Eagles star never to represent the national side, and he certainly isn’t the first…

  • Bukayo Saka Arsenal 2022-23

    Bukayo Saka

    There was genuine hope, when Saka burst onto the scene with Arsenal, that he would one day go on to represent Nigeria—the land of his parents.

    Ultimately, however, he turned out for England and represented the Three Lions at the European Championships last year as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the final.

    The versatile 21-year-old will be World Cup-bound later this year.

  • Arnaut Danjuma Villarreal 2021-22

    Arnaut Danjuma

    Villarreal’s Danjuma was, for a long period, still eligible to represent Nigeria despite having made his Netherlands debut, with rules on nationality switching making a conversion possible.

    Now that he has six caps to his name, however, that’s no longer possible, with the versatile attacker now primed to enjoy his prime years with the Netherlands national side.

    He’s Samuel Chukwueze’s teammate at club level, but will now never get the chance to feature alongside the Eagles wideman for the national side.

  • Tammy Abraham 2022-23

    Tammy Abraham

    Like Saka, there was tangible hope that Nigeria would snare Abraham from England’s grasp, only for the Eagles to lose out on the talented youngster.

    The forward hasn’t become integral to the Three Lions—unlike Saka—and it remains to be seen whether he will make the cut for Qatar.

    He’s struggled to hit a dozen international caps; might he regret not choosing Nigeria?

  • David Alaba Real Madrid

    David Alaba

    Austria’s captain is approaching a century of caps for the national side, and he firmly belongs among the country’s greatest ever players.

    Alaba, who excels either as a left-back or centre-back, has won three Champions League titles and clinched the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich on 10 occasions.

    Currently with Real Madrid, he won the Spanish title with Los Merengues last season, and he would have been the most decorated Nigerian player of all time had he opted for the Super Eagles.

  • KARIM ADEYEMI DORTMUND

    Karim Adeyemi

    One of several exciting dual-nationality players in the Germany ranks, Adeyemi has made four appearances for the European giants to date, having made his debut in September 2021.

    The 20-year-old scored on his debut for the Mannschaft—in a 6-0 demolition of Armenia—but amidst immense competition, he has a battle on his hands to make the cut for the World Cup.

  • Manuel Akanji Manchester City 2022-23

    Manuel Akanji

    Recently signed Manchester City centre-back Akanji is approaching a half-century of caps with Switzerland, having opted to represent the European side rather than the Eagles.

    He could have forged a fine defensive partnership with William Troost-Ekong, for example, and could have brought some class to the heart of the Nigeria defence.

  • Noah Okafor

    Noah Okafor

    Well-rounded centre-forward who lines up alongside Akanji with Switzerland at senior level.

    Okafor, still only 22, has scored 23 Austrian Bundesliga goals in 58 league appearances with Red Bull Salzburg, winning three titles in the process.

  • Philip Billing Bournemouth 2022-23

    Philip Billing

    Like the aforementioned Danjuma, Billing remained on Nigeria’s radar long after making his debut for a European nation, due to not having been capped in a competitive fixture.

    The midfielder took 18 months to make his second Denmark appearance, having made his debut against the Faroe Islands in 2020, but is now tied to the Europeans after featuring in a Nations League game earlier this year.

    Despite having only three caps to his name, he’ll fancy his chances of making the Danes’ World Cup squad.

  • 20220924 Dele Alli

    Dele Alli

    Still only 26, Alli will watch the World Cup from home after suffering a startling fall from grace in recent years.

    He was a key figure in the England side that reached the semis in Russia four years ago, but utterly lost his way at Tottenham Hotspur and is nowhere near the Three Lions squad today.

    Could things have turned out differently if he’d have opted to build his international career with the Eagles?

  • Ross Barkley

    Ross Barkley

    There are quite a few parallels between Dele and Barkley, both of whom were—at one stage—tipped to be the future of the England national side after emerging as outrageously talented attacking midfielders despite their slender years.

    Barkley, eligible for Nigeria via his grandparents, could have brought a lot to the Eagles midfield over the last decade, and it’s not like he’s enjoyed a particularly fulfilling international career with England.

  • Gavin Bazunu Republic of Ireland 2021

    Gavin Bazunu

    Newly established Southampton No. 1 Bazunu represents the Republic of Ireland at senior level, and currently has 10 caps to his name.

    He could have easily chosen to feature for the Super Eagles, but would he have represented an upgrade on the likes of Francis Uzoho and Maduka Okoye?