For some of us who have keenly monitored his career since he left the Nigeria Premier League in 2010 for the Dutch Eredivisie, Ahmed Musa’s career has been on a meteoric rise. However, since joining Champions, Leicester City, that once bright career looks to be in danger of sinking into oblivion.
Whenever the story of the Nigeria Professional Football League is being told, one name definitely pops up – Ahmed Musa! Aged just 17, Musa had set a record for the most number of goals scored in the Nigeria Premier League with 18 goals. That same year, he transferred to the Eredivisie to join VVV-Venlo.
After heroically helping VVV-Venlo avoid getting relegated in 2011, he moved to the icy-cold climate of Russia to join CSKA-Moscow in 2012 for €5 million. Ahmed Musa became an instant hit in Russia. Then CSKA-Moscow manager, Leonid Slutsky, highly favoured the Nigerian attacker and made him a regular feature in his team. Musa repaid the trust by scoring and assisting goals on a regular basis. He helped CSKA-Moscow win the Russian Premier League and the Russian Cup in 2013, repeating the feat in 2014.
By the time he left CSKA-Moscow last summer, he had scored 33 goals in 106 appearances for CSKA, won three Russian Premier League titles, one Russian Cup and two Russian Super Cup titles. So when Leicester City came with plenty of Premier League money to acquire his services last year, many of us agreed that it was time for his career to take another trajectory – this time to a bigger and better League after 4 years in the Russian cold.
Claudio Ranieri had sanctioned the signing of Musa for a then club record of £16 million. In his mind’s eye, he must’ve seen the Nigerian as a suitable backup to Shinji Okazaki. Someone with Champions League experience who could partner Jamie Vardy, deputise for Marc Albrighton or Riyad Mahrez and bring some more pace to the Leicester attack. Musa started the season opener away to Hull City in August – Leicester lost that game. He was thereafter dropped to the bench in the subsequent fixtures against Arsenal, Swansea, Liverpool and Burnley. He, however, started the League Cup defeat to Chelsea. The implication was that he had no place in the Leicester City starting lineup – under the manager who bought him.
Without regular football, it became impossible for Musa to hit the ground running – the likes of Islam Slimani, Marc Albrighton, Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez were ahead of him in the pecking order, all day long.
So long as this season goes, the signing of Ahmed Musa has been one that has benefited very little to both player and club. Even when he’d come on for cameos, Ranieri had been criticised for bringing him on at all. Such was Gary Lineker’s assertion when he was brought on in the Champions League round of 16 fixture against Sevilla.
Defend Claudio to the end after last season but his faith in Musa is baffling. Now I've said it, please prove me wrong
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 22, 2017
Musa had found it difficult to get into the Leicester squad on numerous occasions and was only offered a new lease of life when Riyad Mahrez was away at the African Cup of Nations. Sadly, even with Mahrez away, he still failed to make much of an impact in the games he started as Leicester City’s woes climaxed in the sacking of Claudio Ranieri.
Following Ranieri’s sack, Musa has found it difficult to make the rejuvenated squad of his new manager, Craig Shakespeare. Just when some of us were beginning to ask questions about his fitness, he made a 14-minute appearance in Leicester’s 3-2 away win at West Ham – meaning he’s been fit all along.
With only two Premier League goals in 19 appearances since joining the Foxes, Ahmed Musa has clearly struggled to make any sort of meaningful impact for his new club. Lack of playing minutes is clearly damaging a once bright career. If this continues, I’ll proffer a move away in the summer.