With the 2022/23 season midway and action back in full swing after the World Cup break, a host of Nigerian footballers are making their mark in Europe, topping their club’s scorers charts, writes EBENEZER BAJELA

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

Osimhen looks head and shoulders above the continent’s other goal-getters at the moment and added his 10th league goal of the season on Sunday as Napoli defeated Sampdoria 2-0 away.

It was a valuable triumph for the Partenopei — who lost their first league game of the season at Internazionale on Wednesday — as they immediately got their title challenge back on track ahead of the visit of Juventus on Friday.

Osimhen’s latest strike keeps him well out in front in the Serie A goals charts — two ahead of Lautaro Martinez, Marko Arnautovic and M’Bala Nzola — while he also cemented his spot as Napoli’s top scorer with 12 goals across all competitions.

Closest to the Nigerian is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has six goals in the league and eight across all competitions.

The former Lille man’s impressive scoring form also saw him equal a record set by the legendary George Weah in the Italian topflight.

Osimhen and Weah are the only Africans to have hit double figures for goals in three separate Serie A campaigns, with the latter having done it between 1995 and 1998.

The Nigerian is still some way off the Liberia President’s overall goal haul in Italy’s topflight; Weah netted 46 across five seasons with AC Milan, the most by an African player in the league, while Osimhen currently has 34 since signing for Napoli from Lille in 2020.

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Paul Onuachu (Genk)

After a sloppy start to the 2022/23 season, Onuachu has rediscovered his goalscoring form and the Nigerian marked his 100th Belgian Pro League appearance with a fine strike as he latched onto Joseph Paintsil’s cross to send a first-time effort past Simon Mignolet, in the Brugge goal, on Sunday to prove that he remains one of the best strikers in Europe.

It was the forward’s 14th goal in 15 games this season and has notched up 71 goals in 100 games with six assists since he arrived at the club three years ago from Denmark.

The 28-year-old is Genk’s top scorer and has scored exactly double of the number of goals scored by the club’s second top scorer, Bryan Heynen.

Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)

Akpom’s meteoric rise this season has stunned many, as the Arsenal academy graduate kept scoring goals with reckless abandon.

The 27-year-old has flourished under manager Michael Carrick this term.

Since the former Manchester United midfielder took over at the Riverside on October 24, Akpom has netted 10 goals in 11 matches in all competitions, all of which have been scored inside the box.

Boro have won seven of those matches and thus firmly ensconced themselves in the Championship promotion race.

Overall, the Super Eagles hopeful has scored 15 goals this season for the Championship side, making him the club’s top scorer, nine goals more than Matt Crooks, who is the club’s second top scorer.

Such form saw Akpom linked with a move back to the Premier League, but the Teesside club have since moved quickly to take up the option to extend Akpom’s contract until the summer of 2024.

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Akpom is thriving and it will take something special to displace him as the league’s in-form frontman.

Odion Ighalo (Al Hilal)

After finishing the 2021/22 season as the top scorer in Saudi Arabia, contributing 24 goals for Al-Shabab and Al Hilal, Ighalo is enjoying another stellar season with Al Hilal in the Saudi Arabia Professional League with his goalscoring form getting better despite his age.

This season, the 33-year-old striker has already scored eight goals in 12 games for Al Hilal, placing him as the club’s top scorer ahead of Moussa Marega, who has only managed half the number of goals scored by Ighalo.

The Nigerian is one goal behind Al-Nassr’s Brazilian forward Anderson Talisca for the top scorer award in the league.

Folarin Balogun (Reims)

Arsenal forward Bologna has enjoyed a productive loan spell at Ligue 1 side Reims this term, scoring 10 goals and providing two assists in 16 topflight appearances.

The 21-year-old joined Arsenal’s academy in 2011 but struggled to break into the Gunners’ first team and has only made 10 senior appearances, scoring two goals and setting up one more in the process.

However, his loan spell has been nothing short of magical and the forward has proven himself as a consistent goalscorer in Ligue 1 and is currently Reims’ top scorer.

Balogun’s importance to the French side is massive as the club’s next top scorer, Junya Ito, has only found the back of the net on four occasions.

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Terem Moffi (Lorient)

Moffi is another Nigerian who has been very impressive in front of goal in the current season.

The 23-year-old burst into light in Ligue 1 this term, netting 10 times in 16 league fixtures for Lorient.

So far, only PSG’s duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have scored more than the forward, and it is no surprise that he is considered a target for many European clubs with goal-shy Southampton keen on the forward.

The Nigeria international is Lorient’s top scorer and is followed by Dango Ouattara, who has only managed five goals this season.

Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague)

Having made himself an integral part of the Slavia Prague side that won three Czech Pro League titles in consecutive seasons, Olayinka is enjoying another season with the club with another impressive display in front of goal.

While he is on his way out of the club when the season ends in June, Olayinka remains the club’s top scorer in the current campaign with 11 goals to his name, one more than Stanislav Tecl and Ondřej Lingr, who are both tied on 10 goals.

Moses Simon (Nantes)

While he may not be operating as a No.9 for Nantes, Moses’ contribution to the French side cannot be over-emphasised.

The winger was only on Sunday dethroned as the club’s top scorer by Mostafa Mohamed, who scored his sixth goal in the Coup de France.

The Nigerian however remained Nantes top scorer in the league with five goals.



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