With Ogenyi Onazi reported to leave Lazio for the Premier League this summer, we evaluate his best potential destination.
According to The Mirror, Nigerian international Ogenyi Onazi has admitted that he ‘would jump at the chance’ of a move to Liverpool, amidst speculation suggesting that the Merseyside outfit are set to be involved in a bidding war with Tottenham Hotspur for the midfielder’s signature.
Currently plying his trade in Serie A with Lazio, Onazi is set for a summer move following a disappointing campaign for the capital oufit, who currently occupy 10th place in the Italian top flight. In my opinion, there’s no question regarding his options - Anfield is by far the superior destination for the 21-year-old.
First and foremost, Liverpool will be competing in the Champions League next season – the pinnacle of many a player’s career. The Reds will also be preparing to challenge for the title once more, as well as the various other domestic trophies English football has to offer. After an impressive 2013-14 season, Liverpool have proved themselves as the club more capable of fulfilling the fans' ambitions – an aspect Onazi will look favourably towards.
Meanwhile, after a disappointing campaign Spurs could miss out on European football altogether. Following defeat to West Ham United on Saturday, the club now find themselves three points behind fifth-placed Everton, but Tottenham could still miss out to Manchester United. The prospect of European football alone should be enough to attract the continent’s most talented players.
Furthermore, it’s important as a young player to develop under a manager who has your best interests at heart. At just 21 years of age, Onazi’s next step in his career could prove vital. Considering his potential, he needs to be given the opportunity to perform regularly at as a high a level as possible – at Liverpool he will achieve this.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has continued to place his trust in the younger generation and much of the club’s success this season has stemmed from the performances of those considered to be inexperienced. The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan have each fulfilled an important role throughout the Reds’ Premier League campaign, and the trust shown to them by Rodgers has been a major factor behind each player’s success.
The future of Tottenham’s management team is yet to be clarified and, although Tim Sherwood looks favourably towards the use of young players, his successor may prove less open-minded.
In terms of regular playing time, Liverpool are also in much greater need of his services. The club have struggled from a lack of depth at times this season and Rodgers will be eager to increase his midfield options ahead of next season.
Spurs are well accounted for in the centre of the park and, unless they experience a significant clearance during the summer window, this will remain the case. Therefore, Onazi would surely be used sparingly at White Hart Lane - a situation he will be eager to avoid as he continues his development.
You just have to look back to the transfers of Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who were both agonisingly close to joining Liverpool before signing deals with Spurs. Both struggled to find their feet in North London, largely due to a lack of playing time. Dempsey has since moved back to the United States, while Sigurdsson’s future at the club appears bleak.
Finally, despite failing to win the English top flight title for over 24 years, Liverpool maintain a rich heritage. This very heritage has seen them recruit a host of world-class players in the past – an impressive achievement considering domestic success has proven hard to come by since the Premier League, as we know it today, was formed. This history has been sustained by the players and, of course, the fans, who have created an absolute fortress at Anfield. Who in their right mind would turn down the opportunity to experience such an atmosphere week-in, week-out?
The prospect of playing fast, free-flowing, attacking football, whilst challenging on multiple fronts for a number of trophies will surely be enough to convince Ogenyi Onazi that Merseyside is his most suitable destination this summer.