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Paul Onuachu Biography and Profile

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Ebere Paul Onuachu MON listen (born 28 May 1994) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Süper Lig club Trabzonspor on loan from EFL Championship club Southampton and the Nigeria national team.

Onuachu has won League titles in Denmark and Belgium, and while in the latter country was voted Belgian Footballer of the Year and won the country’s top scoring Golden Bull trophy.

Paul Onuachu remains top scorer in Belgium with 8th goal of the seasonClub career

Midtjylland

Onuachu moved to Danish club FC Midtjylland in 2012 on a scholarship from their affiliate team in Nigeria, Ebedei. He was a prolific scorer for their youth team, and made his first-team debut in the Cup later that year, before making his league debut in December 2012. In June 2013 he signed a new three-year contract with the club, before extending it for a further three-years in August 2015. In early 2015 he was loaned to Vejle BK, before returning to FC Midtjylland ahead of the 2015–16 season.

Onuachu helped Midtjylland to the Danish Superliga title twice, in 2015 and 2018, and scored the winner against Manchester United in Midtjylland’s home last-32 first-leg of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League, but two goals from United debutant Marcus Rashford in the second-leg a week later at Old Trafford saw the English side win 5–1 on the night and 6–3 on aggregate.

Genk

In August 2019 he signed for then reigning Belgian Pro League champions Genk, who had just appointed Felice Mazzù as coach.[9] At 2.01m tall, Onuachu was seen as being an “atypical” transfer. Onauchu made his debut on 1 September 2019 as a late stoppage-time substitute in a 1–1 draw against Club Brugge, and would score in his next two league games, starting in both a 1–2 defeat against Sporting Charleroi[12] and 3–1 win over Oostende.

Onuachu’s second full season at Genk would prove spectacular, finishing top scorer with 33 league goals (35 in all competitions), winning him the Golden Bull for leading Belgian Pro League goalscorer, a feat that saw him named Pro League Player of the Year for 2020–21, and 2021 Belgian Golden Shoe winner for the best footballer of the calendar year. Onuachu also won the Ebony Shoe for best African player in Belgium for 2020–21.

Onuachu scored against all 17 league opponents, netting in four of the six Champions Play-Off games, helping propel Genk to runners-up spot in the 2020–21 Belgian First Division A, and winning the 2021 Belgian Cup Final 2–1 against Standard Liege. His haul of 33 goals was the highest in the Belgian top flight since Erwin Vandenbergh‘s European Golden Boot-winning 39-goal campaign for Lierse in 1980,[18][19] and broke Wesley Sonck‘s one-season Genk club goals record of 30, set in 2002–03.

The following season saw Genk’s league form suffer due to early-season defensive frailty as Cup-winning coach John van den Brom was sacked mid-season and replaced by Bernd Storck. Genk reached the European play-offs, finishing behind Gent in the table, finishing sixth overall. Onuachu was third-highest scorer in the league for 2021–22 with 21 goals, behind Deniz Undav of Union St-Gilloise on 26 and Michael Frey of Royal Antwerp on 24.[21]

In scoring four goals against Sporting Charleroi on 4 November 2022, Onuachu became the first Genk player to achieve this feat since Sonck, in 2003.[22][23] Onuachu scored 16 league goals for Genk up to the end of January 2023, with Racing ten points clear of Union St-Gilloise at the top of the Belgian Pro League. After expressing frustration previously at being unable to secure a move to one of the five richest European leagues, Onuachu said at the start of January 2023 he was determined to help Genk stay top and win the title. Onuachu scored twice in his final game for Genk, a 4–0 win over bottom club Seraing, to once more propel him to top spot in the Pro League scoring charts, as finally a major bid was made for the Nigerian striker from a club in a major league.[25]

Southampton

On 1 February 2023, Onuachu swapped title-chasing Genk for relegation-threatened Premier League club Southampton on a three-and-a-half-year contract. On 4 February 2023, Onuachu made his first Premier League appearance for Southampton in a 3–0 defeat against Brentford, replacing Mohamed Elyounoussi at half-time.[28]

On 11 September 2023, Onuachu joined Trabzonspor on a season-long loan. He scored on his debut for the club on 17 September 2023 in a 3–0 victory against Besiktas.[31]

International career

Onuachu was called up to the Nigeria under-23 national team in February 2015. In March 2019 he received his first call-up to the Nigerian senior team.

On 26 March 2019, Onuachu scored his first goal for Nigeria in a friendly match against Egypt. The goal was scored within the first ten seconds of the game, and the fastest ever scored for Nigeria. Following the goal Onuachu was heralded as the “toast of Nigerian football”, with “his coach, team-mates, journalists and fans talking about him”.[35] He was selected to the Nigeria squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[36] He played in Nigeria’s 1–0 win over Burundi, as the Super Eagles reached the semi-finals, losing 2–1 to Algeria in the last four,[38] then beating Tunisia 1–0 in the bronze-medal match.

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