After four fine years at CSKA Moscow, the Nigerian looks set to replicate his fine form in the East Midlands
Leicester City are preparing for the biggest season in their history. For the first time ever they are defending champions, having won the Premier League title in astonishing fashion last term.
Not only will they have to contend with greater expectations domestically, but they will also be competing with the continent’s finest in the Uefa Champions League.
Claudio Ranieri has insisted he won’t make radical changes to his squad so as not to destabilise the harmony of a team that gelled effectively last term, but already, significant additions have arrived.
So far, the Italian tactician has signed German stopper Ron-Robert Zieler from Hannover 96, Spaniards Luis Hernandez and Raul Uche from Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano respectively, and Frenchman Nampalys Mendy from OGC Nice.
The biggest coup is arguably the addition of Nigeria’s very own Ahmed Musa who joins from CSKA Moscow for a club record £16 million fee and could be primed to become the nation's next great Premier League export.
Musa arrives with considerable experience and a fine reputation and, as a versatile right-footed attacker who can play on either flank and as a striker, will be a versatile addition to the Foxes’ forward line.
The Super Eagle could be just the player the East Midlanders need to thrive this season, and EPL defences won’t enjoy combating his wonderful pace, technique, movement, passing and eye for goal.
The diminutive Nigerian scored 54 goals in 168 appearances (an average of 0.32 per game) for CSKA which, considering he often featured on the left flank, is a decent haul.
He reached double digits in three of his four full seasons in the Russian Premier League, winning three titles, a Russian Cup and two Russian Super Cups to his name.
Few players in the current Leicester squad can even begin to compete with Musa’s international achievements; he won the 2013 Cup of Nations title in South Africa with the Super Eagles and shone at the 2014 World Cup, scoring twice in Nigeria’s 3-2 defeat by Argentina.
Lionel Messi may have stolen the show that afternoon in Porto Alegre, delivering a Man of the Match display, but Musa became the first Nigerian to ever score a brace at the global showpiece—against the Albiceleste no less!
Perhaps it’s in Leicester’s maiden Champions League adventure that Musa’s worth will be revealed most significantly.
His European experience dwarves the vast majority of the Foxes’ squad, and in continental clashes where Leicester may find themselves on the back foot for long spells, his directness and speed can make him a lethal addition on the break against some of the UCL’s heavyweights.
During the 2010-2011 European season, where he made his debut on the continent with Dutch side VVV-Venlo, Musa was rated as one of Goal.com’s Hot 100 young footballers to look out for .@jamesezimoha @GoalcomNigeria Happy to see another Nigerian in the EPL.Musa has all the qualities to succeed in the league.I still have 2yrs— John Ogu (@ogujohnugo) July 13, 2016
He was also among the best 140 players in the world as recorded by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.
The price tag of £16 million isn’t too great for the ex-Super Eagles captain, who offers a heady combination of experience and youth.
Indeed, it’s almost a bargain when one considers that Chelsea bid £33 million for Olympique de Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi.
Musa’s contract ties him to the King Power Stadium for at least the next four years, meaning he will get ample opportunity to prove himself in the top flight as Leicester seek to prove that lightning can strike twice.What does Ranieri see in Musa? Perhaps, I suggest, a Vardy understudy. https://t.co/BACLHNemS1 [@GoalcomNigeria] pic.twitter.com/07Pr0V4kun— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) May 26, 2016
Can Musa add his name alongside those of Nigeria’s other EPL greats, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha, Yakubu Aiyebeni and Obafemi Martins.