It has already been reported that Ike Ugbo, who was born to Nigerian parents in England, could soon be the direct replacement for Goal King Paul Onuachu at Belgian club Genk.
A special report looks more closely at what the Chelsea striker can bring to play again in Belgium.
Iké Ugbo has been one of those typical Chelsea FC contract players who has been loaned out to a different club every season.
Barnsley FC, MK Dons, Scunthorpe United and Roda JC were Ugbo’s recent stints before he was loaned out to Cercle Brugge last season.
At Roda JC, the centre-forward became the club’s top scorer with 13 goals, which was an exceptionally high number for a team that were battling relegation.
“He can display that fighting instinct at Cercle Brugge this season,” announced chairman Vincent Goemaere in August, when Ugbo was officially presented in the green-black shirt.
And the Chelsea loanee went on to do just that.
Last season Iké Ugbo was one of the 10 summer signings at Cercle Brugge, but in the end he was by far the most important.
The other summer transfers Jean Marcelin, Thomas Didillon, Antony Musaba and Franck Kanouté all showed promising things in the Jan Breydel Stadium, but what Ugbo performed was at a completely different level.
For the first time since, Cercle Brugge could count on a goal scorer as the former England youth international effectively scored goals in West Flanders.
With 16 league goals, Ugbo even became one of the best strikers in the Jupiler Pro League: only six other strikers scored more than he did last season.
“I knew that I would explode here at Cercle Brugge,” Iké Ugbo told Het Laatste Nieuws in November last year.
The 22-year-old striker consciously opted for the Cercle Brugge project last summer and Ugbo had previously held several talks with the then coach Paul Clement.
The Englishman saw Cercle Brugge as a logical step in his career, where he initially wanted to gain experience and be decisive as often as with Roda JC.
Ugbo even scored three league goals more in Bruges than in Kerkrade, but he also became the third most efficient striker in the Jupiler Pro League after Bas Dost (Club Brugge) and Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk).
And now Ugbo is expected as a capable replacement for Paul Onuachu at KRC Genk.
The Limburgers have been preying on the Chelsea FC player for some time and the competition for the top-rated striker is certainly fierce.
Besides Genk, Fulham, Watford, West Ham, Frankfurt, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven have also mentioned as new destinations for Ugbo in recent months.
In addition, Cercle Brugge – via its wealthy parent club AS Monaco, of course – were also prepared to exercise the purchase option of five Million Euros.
But in the end, the general expectation is that Iké Ugbo will soon become the new attack leader of KRC Genk, where he will have to follow in the footsteps of Paul Onuachu.
Chelsea will be happy to complete this transfer as ‘The Blues’ will have a nice financial profit on the sale of their redundant player.
In one year, Ugbo’s market value increased nine folds, from 500,000 Euros (at the end of his loan at Roda JC) to 4.5 Million Euros (at the end of his loan at Cercle Brugge).
KRC Genk will therefore have to dig deep into the money bag for Iké Ugbo, although that certainly does not have to be a problem for the Limburgers.
Sports director Dimitri de Condé is still hoping for a major incoming million-dollar deal through the sale of his prized striker Onuachu.
In addition, a striker like Ugbo simply comes with a hefty price tag.
Or as Hannes Van der Bruggen recently said about his teammate: “A striker who scores 16 goals cannot be found on every street corner.”
Culled from scorenigeria.com.ng. Adapted from Voetbalniuews.
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