Nigeria failed to qualify for February’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, meaning these promising Premier League stars will remain with their clubs during the international tournament this February.



Kelechi Iheanacho, 19, Manchester City

The young forward was forced to miss the 2016 Rio Olympics after new City boss Pep Guardiola was reluctant to allow his young star to report for international duty in favor of important pre-season training, a clue which suggests the 19-year-old will be playing a key role in the 2016/2017 English Premier League season.

Last year the Nigerian won the blue half of Manchester points on his own as he leapt from the bench to score the winner on more than one occasion. In all competitions the youngster netted 14 times last campaign, pushing himself ahead of Ivorian Wilfried Bony who has now been loaned to Stoke City.

Alex Iwobi, 20, Arsenal

The Arsenal attacking midfielder also experienced a breakout season last year in the English Premier League where he netted twice in 22 appearances drawing comparisons to his uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha. The Nigerian was even included to face Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stages to mark a steep rise to prominence.

Iwobi was also blocked from representing his country at Rio 2016 where the London club made a dramatic U-turn on allowing the player to leave. Wenger favored selecting the midfielder for their pre-season tour of the USA and the opening game of the season versus Liverpool, which Iwobi started in and retired injured in.



Ahmed Musa, 23, Leicester City

Claudio Ranieri’s $20 million signing has already collected a wealth of experience. In four seasons with CSKA Moscow the winger netted an impressive 42 times while still in his early 20s and late teens. Furthermore, at the 2014 World Cup, the forward scored a brace for his country during a 3-2 defeat to eventual finalists Argentina as the Super Eagles exited at the group stage.

Musa made a near instant impact for his new club when he scored a brilliant double against Barcelona in a pre-season friendly. In addition, during his home debut he was unlucky not to have won a penalty late in the game during the 0-0 stalemate against Arsenal at the King Power Stadium.

Isaac Success, 20, Watford

The Hornets broke the club transfer record when they splashed the cash with the signing of Isaac Success from Granada for a fee reported to be in region of $15 million. After spending a season with Granada B, the striker was part of the side that narrowly avoided relegation from La Liga last season, scoring seven goals.

The forward might need to wait for his chance to impress at Vicarage Road however, with both club captain Troy Deeney and last season’s top scorer 27-year-old Odion Ighalo ahead of him in Walter Mazzarri’s plans.

Kelechi Nwakali, 18, Arsenal

The Nigeria youth international captained his country to victory in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile last year, where he won the Player of the Tournament award. Signed from the Diamond Football Academy in Nigeria on a five-year-deal the attacking midfielder will have a long wait until he gets even a sniff at first-team action with a loan move in the near future likely.

Because of international transfer rules, Arsenal had to wait until Nwakali turned 18 in June before being able to officially sign him, and the deal was held up further by paperwork and the midfielder’s international commitments.