Al Ahly striker Junior Ajayi has been strongly linked with a summer move to Portuguese outfit, Sporting CP following a strong season in the Egyptian Premier League.
Ajayi, 22, got his first international cap for the Super Eagles as a late substitute in the 2-0 loss to Serbia.
He narrowly missed out in Nigeria’s preliminary squad of 30 players for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The 36 Lion product has been a revelation for Al Ahly since joining from Tunisian side Sfaxien in the summer of 2016, scoring 21 and assisting 18 in 71 appearances for the club and winning two Egyptian Premier League titles in the process.
The Portuguese Premier League giants are expected to be very busy in the transfer market this summer, following an attack on their players by a section of their own fanbase at the club’s training ground which has led to a lot of the squad wanting to leave immediately.
Currently employed on Sporting’s board of directors is former Zamalek manager Augusto Inacio who should have good knowledge of the Egyptian league, as well as North African football as a whole considering he was supposedly the brains behind signing Islam Slimani from CR Belouizdad of Algeria.
While Sporting did not have much luck with their previous signigs from Egypt, Shikabala and Rabia, they do have good experience in signing Nigerians from Egypt as Emmanuel Amunike was signed from Zamalek in 1994 and went on to have a successful spell in Portugal. Amunike was also the last Nigerian to play for the club, meaning Ajayi has the potential to continue a tradition of Nigerians moving from Egypt to Sporting.
Meanwhile, Ajayi will focus on the CAF Champions League group stage with Al Ahly, where their next game is against Botswana’s surprise package Township Rollers on July 17th, following the World Cup.