Chinedu Obasi follows in Jay-Jay Okocha's footsteps at Bolton

Chinedu Obasi Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Chinedu Obasi finally looks set to fulfil his ambition of playing in England after his short-term acquisition was announced by Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

However, while the former youth prodigy could thrive in the second tier, there's a lingering sense that his move to England comes a decade too late.

The Nigeria international follows in the footsteps of countryman Jay-Jay Okocha in donning the colours of the Trotters, and finally arrives in England at the third attempt.

He failed to earn a contract at Sunderland - then managed by Okocha's ex-head coach Sam Allardyce - after failing to prove his fitness in 2015, and also trained with Portsmouth but diidn't secure a permanent contract.

For Obasi, the past 12 years have being a tough struggle littered with injury concerns and setbacks, and regardless of his achievements at Bolton, we'll never know what he might have achieved with his undoubted talent.

Here was a player who rubbed shoulders with John Obi Mikel and was mentioned in the same breath as the Super Eagles captain during their early career days together in the junior national teams and with Lyn Oslo.

While Mikel instantly grabbed the headlines, and was soon the centre of a year-long legal tussle between Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea, Obasi continued to patiently hone his skills in Norway.

At the start of 2006, Obasi was rewarded with a standby spot on the bronze-medal winning Super Eagles squad for the African Nations Cup.

A return of eight goals in 15 league appearances for Lyn also led to him being named the 2006 Young Player of the Year in Norway, where he remains the only foreigner to have won the award.

He ultimately secured a move to Hoffenheim, then in the German second tier, and netted 12 goals as they secured a maiden promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008.

The attacker followed that up with an outstanding showing at the 2008 Olympics - memorably netting a 25-yarder against Belgium - and took seamlessly to life in the German top flight.

Injuries began to interrupt Obasi's progress, but his form was such that then-Hoffenheim coach Ralf Ragnick rejected a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, then with Lech Poznan.

"At the time I rejected the transfer of Robert Lewandowski," Ragnick told journalists as per the Daily Mail. "We felt that, with how he played in Poland, he was no better than our players [Vedad] Ibisevic, [Demba] Ba or Obasi."

As Obasi's star steadily faded, Lewandowski, of course, rose to prominence with Borussia Dortmund and latterly, Bayern Munich.

Internationally, Obasi has enjoyed some memorable moments with the Super Eagles, despite never truly nailing down a regular spot.

The highlights of his senior international career include the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening game against Argentina, where he impressively skinned Jonas Gutierrez in the early minutes, a stunning opening goal in an eventual group-stage defeat to Egypt at the 2010 African Nations Cup and a comeback strike against Argentina in Bangladesh following a 15-month injury enforced absence.

As he prepares for the latest chapter of his football career, with relegation-battlers Bolton Wanderers in the second-tier of English football, Obasi may well rue how injuries have altered his trajectory in the game and denied him the chance to realise his true potential.

Obasi may be delighted to have finally realised his ambition to play in England, but there will still be a lingering sense that this move across the Channel came a decade too late for a player who could have achieved so much more.