It’s astonishing to think that in 2006, John Obi Mikel’s move from Lyn Olso to Chelsea was the largest fee any club had ever parted with for a Nigerian footballer.
The most protracted transfer battle involving a Nigerian player was that of Mikel, who was in the centre of a three-club battle between Norwegian side Lyn Oslo and EPL giants Manchester United and Chelsea.
United thought they had secured the services of Mikel, April 29, 2005, just some days before his 18th birthday, after they announced they had signed a pre-contract agreement with the midfielder, which would see him join them for £4m in January 2006.
The deal however hit the rocks after Chelsea also claimed they had signed an agreement with the midfielder’s agents to move to Stamford Bridge, with Mikel saying he was bullied to sign for United. Both clubs thereafter agreed to a settlement, with Mikel joining Chelsea in a deal worth £16m (€17.77m) June 2006.
The moves gradually kept on getting bigger when Odion Ighalo signed for Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai for £20m(€22.2m) January 2017. He joined from Watford.
♻️ Nigerian record transfers
Victor Osimhen – Lille ✈️ Napoli €81m
Alex Iwobi – Arsenal ✈️ Everton €37.7m
Kelechi Iheanacho – Manchester City ✈️ Leicester City €27.77m
Odion Ighalo – Watford ✈️ Changchun Yatai €22.2m
John Obi Mikel – Lyn Oslo ✈️ Chelsea €17.77m
Ahmed Musa – CSKA Moscow ✈️ Leicester City €17.77m
Wilfred Ndidi – KRC Genk ✈️ Leicester City €16.66m
Obafemi Martins – Inter Milan ✈️ Newcastle United €15m
Henry Onyekuru – Everton ✈️ Monaco €15m
Emmanuel Emenike – Spartak Moscow ✈️ Monaco €14.77m
Money has gone exponentially more mad as the years have passed. However, with the Covid pandemic placing increasing strain on club finances around the globe, it seems highly unlikely that we’ll see that magical figure eclipsed any time in the foreseeable future.