10 Nigerian footballers who played for Arsenal FC

10 Nigerian footballers who played for Arsenal FC
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Here is a list of 10 Nigerian footballers who have played or represented one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League in their careers.

English football is renowned for being a highly competitive league at the club level, with an arduous and demanding season that challenges even the most skilled players. Therefore, the idea of Nigerian footballers being considered good enough to play for prestigious Premier League teams such as Arsenal, Manchester United, and others is a significant achievement.

Arsenal Football Club is considered one of the most successful clubs in the history of English football, with a rich legacy of notable accomplishments. The club boasts an impressive record of 13 Premier League titles, including a golden trophy resulting from an unbeaten run in the Premier League, 14 FA Cup titles, two League Cups, and 16 FA Community Shields.

Throughout their history, Arsenal has had several players of Nigerian descent represent their team. Bearing this in mind, we have compiled a list of the Nigerian footballers who have played for Arsenal in the Premier League.

10. Aaron Eyoma

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal

Aaron Eyoma, also known as Aaron Jordan, is an English football player with Nigerian heritage who was part of the Arsenal team from 2015 to 2018. As a scholar, he had a successful first year, showcasing his skills with the U18s and also being included in the UEFA Youth League and U21 squads. His speed, technique and ability to cross the ball were highly regarded, scoring five goals for the U18s. Aaron then progressed to play twice for the U23s before being sent out on loan by the club. Eventually, he left Arsenal to join Concord Rangers FC.

9. Tolaji Bola 

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal

Tolaji Adeyinka Osegie A. Bola is an English player of Nigerian descent who joined the U9 squad of Arsenal FC in his early days moved up the ranks as a defender and was included in the senior squad for the 2019/2020 season as well as the 2020/2021 season although he did not feature in any game before his departure to Burton Albion.

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8. Joseph Olowu

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 30: Joseph Olowu of Arsenal during the match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on April 30, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Joseph Olugbenga Olowu is a Nigerian-born professional footballer who plays for Doncaster Rovers, as a defender. Olowu started his career at Arsenal when he was 8 years old, and he had loan spells at Cork City in 2020 and Wealdstone in 2021 after being included in the senior team of the Gunners. After spending 13 years with Arsenal, he departed at the end of the 2020–21 season and had a trial with Manchester United before joining Doncaster Rovers in September 2021.

7. Tobi Imole

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
Tobi Imole for Arsenal

Adeleke Oluwatobiloba Adeyinka Omole is an English footballer of Nigerian descent is a defender who played for Arsenal in his early days at the U23 level before making a move to Tottenham first and then Crawley Town where he currently plays as a senior player.

Omole began his football journey when scouted by Arsenal’s academy in 2014, emerging as a promising box-to-box midfielder from Thamesmead Town. He embarked on a two-year scholarship with the club in the summer of 2016, later securing a two-year professional contract in 2018. While with Arsenal’s under-18 and under-23 teams, he showcased versatility, featuring as a left-back, centre-back, and defensive midfielder. However, his time with Arsenal came to an end in the summer of 2020 when he was released.

Shortly after parting ways with Arsenal, Omole sought opportunities with Tottenham Hotspur, joining the club on trial in September 2020. His impressive performance earned him a one-year deal the following month, with his contract later extended by another year. Despite being promoted to first-team training in February 2022, Omole was eventually released by Tottenham when his contract expired at the conclusion of the season.

6. Xavier Amaechi

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Xavier Amaechi of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Xavier Amaechi is a British Nigerian footballer who is currently playing for FC Magdeburg in the Bundesliga Division 2. He is a skilled player on the ball and is always looking for spaces to exploit. The 2017/18 season was a turning point for Xavier while he was with Arsenal. He showcased his talent by scoring 10 goals in 15 appearances for the under-18s, including five goals in the FA Youth Cup.

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He also made six starts in the Premier League 2 and provided three assists, becoming one of the side’s primary sources of creativity. Xavier is a thrilling dribbler and has an exceptional left foot. He can play on either wing, but he is particularly dangerous when cutting in from the right. In May 2018, he scored his first goal for England at under-17 level against Norway.

5. Folarin Balogun

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Folarin Balogun

Folarin Balogun is an American player of Nigerian descent who joined the Arsenal academy in 2012 where he developed and honed his skills as one of the best forwards in football history. The youngster scored 25 goals in 19 games for the Arsenal U18 team in the 2018/2019 season. He also joined the first team where he scored twice during the Gunners Europa League campaign.

4. Semi Ajayi

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
Semi Ajayi

Semi Ajayi joined Arsenal’s youth academy in September 2013 on a two-year deal. However, when he was promoted to the first team, he did not get any chance to play, even though he was on the bench as an unused substitute.

He, however, played 30 games for the youth team, scored once and assisted once as well before his contract expired with Arsenal. We would say that this was not the best run in his career, but he still drew the attention of other English clubs and is still playing football in England for West Bromwich Albion.

3. Kelechi Nwakali

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
Kelechi Nwankali for Arsenal

Kelechi Nwakali’s journey at Arsenal was marked by promise, potential, and perseverance. He was signed amidst high expectations in 2016, and the Nigerian midfielder quickly caught the attention of fans and pundits alike with his dynamic style of play and raw talent.

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He showcased his skills during loan spells at various clubs, including MVV Maastricht and VVV-Venlo, where he gained valuable experience and honed his craft. However, in 2019 Kelechi left Arsenal permanently without getting to start for the first team and joined the Spanish side SD Huesca instead.

2. Alex Iwobi

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi, who plays his football at Everton now, has played for the Arsenal side under the leadership of Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery. He had played in 149 games for the Gunners, scoring 15 goals and making 27 assists for the team before his exit.

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1. Nwankwo Kanu

Nigerian Footballers Played for Arsenal
Nwankwo Kanu

A legend in Nigerian football history and also in the history of Arsenal football club, the achievements of Kanu cannot be measured in just words. He featured in over 190 games for the Gunners, scored 44 goals, and made 29 assists for Arsenal.

Kanu had scored match-deciding goals for the English side, but his most memorable moment at the club, aside from winning trophies, would be his goals that completed a comeback for Arsenal against Chelsea.


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