Nigerian international Kelechi Nwakali is in the midst of a dispute with his club, Huesca, after returning home late from the African Cup of Nations through illness as per Football Espana’s sources.
The 23-year-old midfielder joined the Spanish club back in 2019 from Arsenal, whom he had joined in 2016 from the Diamond Football Academy back home in Nigeria. He’s since made 33 appearances for Huesca and also spent time on loan at Alcorcon.
Kelechi missed Nigeria’s final game of the African Cup of Nations through illness and was too ill to return to Spain. The doctor that treated him advised him not to fly and to keep testing for covid-19 until his symptoms cleared. Kelechi notified Huesca about this.
On deadline day of the January window Ruben Garcia, Huesca’s sporting director, tried to send Kelechi out on loan for a fee of €80k and said he wouldn’t pay the player if he didn’t find a new club. No club was willing to pay the loan fee Huesca demanded, despite interest from second-tier clubs in both Spain and England.
Kelechi has since returned to Spain and Huesca have opened up disciplinary proceedings against him, suspending him indefinitely and not allowing him to come to the training ground despite the fact he provided a doctor’s note explaining his lateness.
Kelechi was offered a renewal at the beginning of this season but decided against accepting due to his poor relationship with the powers-that-be at the club. Huesca, however, were keen for him to renew and now want to sack him to avoid paying him for the rest of the season. He’s currently not being played by them.
The Spanish Players’ Union AFE is now involved in the case and they’ve accused Huesca of committing procedural breaches in the opening up of the case against Kelechi. They claim the club have no grounds to sack him and their behaviour constitutes gross misconduct and discrimination against the player.
In response to the AFE’s involvement Huesca backed down and have agreed to allow Kelechi to return to training in the coming weeks. The ordeal and the lack of game-time, however, has prevented him from being selected in the next Nigerian squad.
Kelechi is the subject of interest from several La Liga sides including Espanyol, Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca, Osasuna, Elche, Deportivo Alaves and Getafe. He’s also being monitored by several clubs in the Premier League and the Championship.