Arsenal’s Kelechi Nwakali is hoping to earn a call up to the Nigeria senior squad in the near future.
The 18 year-old was given the award of Most Valuable Player for his role in helping Nigeria to win the Under-17 World Cup late last year, an award previously won by Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and most recently, Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho.
Nwakali has since joined the Gunners, but upon failing to secure a work permit, has been shipped out on loan to Dutch second tier side MVV Maastricht, where he is likely to feature heavily within the first team.
The 18 year-old is now targeting a potential call up to Nigeria’s senior side, with his former U17 team-mate Victor Osimhen having been promoted recently.
Osimhen was the top scorer for the same tournament which Nwakali was nominated the MVP award, and the pair could well have a bright future within the game.
The striker has previously claimed that he turned down the chance to join Arsenal, and instead made the move to Germany with Wolfsburg.
Osimhen has now been congratulated for his senior call-up by his former team-mate and captain Nwakali.
“I congratulated Osimhen on his invitation to the Super Eagles, that would serve as an inspiration for me too since the new coach is ready to encourage young players for the national team,” stated Nwakali.
“I’m happy about the loan deal to Maastricht since it would give me more playing time,” he added.
“I have been doing well at training since I joined Arsenal, but it is unfortunate they could not secure my work permit, so going to Maastricht is a step in the right direction for me.”
I’m not sure how well a move to the Dutch second-tier will help Nwakali make it into the senior Super Eagles side, but with regular first-team action, I’m sure he will get the opportunity to gain tougher experience next year, while we await his work permit.
The young Nigerian midfielder has signed a five-year contract for us, which shows how highly our club rates his potential, and we can expect to hear more of him in the coming years.
Should we have found him a tougher division to gain experience in, or was it the right decision to give him the best chance of regular action for now?