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Sports News of Tuesday, 6 September 2022


Is Umar Sadiq Nigeria’s best striker in Europe?

Umar Sadiq Umar Sadiq

Nigeria is blessed with an array of deadly attackers, but it seems Sadiq is pulling away from that pack.

Super Eagles striker Umar Sadiq did not put himself in the good books of many Nigerian fans at the last Africa Cup of Nations. But with his consistent brilliance in front of goal ever since, most critics will have a rethink.

Sadiq on most days is a frustrating spectacle – crafty, ‘sneaky’ yet knocking on the door of magic. You can brush him off as a technically weak footballer in one moment and he flashes his bags of skills another. He offers a dose of everything good and everything unthinkable.

He burst onto the scene two years after he recorded 20 goals in 38 appearances for Almeria in the Laliga Smartbank.

The former Partizan Belgrade forward was also on fire last season, hitting 18 in 36 league games in the run-up to Almeria’s promotion to the Laliga.

Umar attracted interest from top teams in Spain and even Borussia Dortmund were close to sealing a deal for the 25-year-old hitman. Nonetheless, he kept his head and scored two goals in the Rojiblancos’ opening three games of the season.

The Super Eagles star just concluded his switch to Real Sociedad last Thursday, and he started with a bang. Umar scored two goals against Atletico Madrid, but one was ruled out for offside.

He has been consistently brilliant since he moved to Spain, scoring with ease in the lower tier and the top flight. And with what he has shown so far, ranking him as Nigeria’s best at the moment is not far from the truth.

Napoli talisman Victor Osimhen has a huge shout, especially as he is the most expensive Nigerian player ever. Since his move to Italy, Osimhen has been a force, but the vital question lies on his impact relative to his massive potential.

Osimhen is very deadly in front of goal and has shown he’s lethal on his day, but he tends to disappear in the big games. Last season, he scored just once against the top six sides, a statistical return that is often employed by his critics.

This season, Napoli has already played two of the top six and he has failed to score. His fitness concerns have also been a sordid part of his career, as he has missed 39 games in the last two seasons.

However, Osimhen remains arguably the finest finisher on the books of the Super Eagles at the moment.

Terem Moffi has been the shining light for Lorient in the last three seasons. But he is a streak player, and he does not score a lot of goals. Moffi has scored 26 goals in 74 league games for Lorient, a return not bad for the player considering the club he represents.

Although he has started the season in brilliant fashion, scoring four goals in five games, considering his previous record, there is no assurance that he could keep that up till the season ends.

Honourable mentions to Taiwo Awoniyi, Paul Onuachu, and Emmanuel Dennis. They were in sizzling form last season, but they are yet to prove their brilliance this season.

More than any other Nigerian forward in Europe in the last three seasons, Sadiq’s healthy return of goals and assists underlines his quality as a forward.

Whether he can rise to be the best is only a matter of deployment, application and time.

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