Impressive Celtic, Rangers defensive target being watched by Nigeria amid World Cup call-up talk

Ayo Obileye Livingston

Livingston defender Ayo Obileye is being looked at closely by Nigeria ahead of a possible call-up ahead of the World Cup finals, TEAMtalk understands.

The 28-year-old Celtic and Rangers target has been outstanding for Livi since they snapped him up from Queen of the South in 2021 and has been one of the stand-out centre-backs in Scottish football over the last 12 months.

The former Chelsea schoolboy had spent his career mainly in non-league football before joining Queen of the South in 2020. But he has not looked back since his move north of the border.

Whilst attracting the attention of Scotland’s big two Celtic and Rangers, it’s also understood that his performances have seen Super Eagles’ hierarchy take a keen interest.

It will be a battle against time to win a place in the Nigeria squad ahead of the World Cup. However, Obileye is now firmly in their thoughts.

The London-born defender qualifies for Nigerian through his parents.

Nigeria started with three centre-backs in Semi Ajayi, Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo in their last outing against Sao Tome.

Nigeria boss has centre-back issues

However, Ajayi is ruled out with an injury for the next six weeks. Balogun, meanwhile, has only played 98 minutes for QPR in the Championship this season. That leaves Omeruo as the only one expected to make a return to the squad.

Captain William Troost-Ekong has also only managed 97 minutes of football this season for Watford. That also puts his usually guaranteed spot in the side at risk.

Super Eagles boss Jose Peseiro could, however, move former Rangers man Calvin Bassey from full-back to centre-back in another alternative option.

As for Obileye, he is expected to be back in action on Saturday when Livingston host Kilmarnock.

Livi are currently seventh in the Scottish Premiership table, with nine points from their six games. David Martindale’s men have won three and lost three so far going into the clash with Killie.