Is Sadiq Umar going to Monaco?
Currently enjoying time of his football life with Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian Premier League, Sadiq Umar is now a much talked about and highly sought after Centre Forward in the European League football.
Having accumulated a mammoth 17 goals and 17 assists in 39 appearances this season alone, the former Nigeria youth international is reaching for the skies.
Now on his ninth club in the last six years, having struggled to gain any foothold with the likes of AS Roma, Torino, Bologna and Rangers, he is finally starting to prove doubters wrong (moreso those who wrote him off for his wretched time in Scotland).
Still only 23, the languid centre forward has attracted the interest of many top clubs including Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen, Lille and AS Monaco.
It is no doubt that the way he has applied himself in Serbia - which have manifested in his ruthlessness in front of goal - has a lot to do with the interests coming his way.
"Partizan have helped me a lot in my career. I found my way, and now I just follow what they ask of me,” Umar expressed recently.
“I think this is just the beginning of my success, and the motivation is there."
Of all the clubs willing to sign him, Monaco appear to be the one most willing to meet his €15-20 million valuation.
The fact Islam Slimani is set not be retained means an opening for a target man style striker to accompany Wissam Ben Yedder will be created and Sadiq Umar fits the bill.
Umar's Style Of Play
His height (6ft 4in), pace, mobility, elevation, strength, arial threat, physicality and athleticism all mix to make him a nuisance to defenders.
His runs in behind, swiftness in combination with his knowledge of when to time and bend his movement, give him an edge when latching on to passes in behind.
Sadiq is also good at picking his moments to exploit gaps between defenders, to outfox them with out-to-in blindside runs and take advantage of lapses in concentration.
Also shrewd at finding space inside the box, Sadiq makes sharp adjustments by attacking the box with speed, holding his runs at the edge of the box as the defence collapses. This makes him come alive in the box when it matters most in order to wreck havoc.
He regularly peels off his marker to find space in the box for a shot; once in possession, his composure and decent strength has enabled him to hold the ball up cleanly or unleash a shot as appropriate.
In terms of aerial threat, Sadiq’s height and jumping causes major issues for defenders.
Whether posing as an excellent option for crosses and set pieces into the box, or when an outball is needed for goal kicks or if defenders are under pressure, his presence is always very valuable.
Furthermore, his aptitude in this area means his fellow attackers and midfielders can position themselves to get on the end of headed knock downs or flick-ons.
Switching the focus to finishing, the 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist is capable of scoring a wide range of goals. These include placed finishes, powerful drives, calculated 1v1s with the keeper, deft chips, clinical first touch tap ins and well directed headers. Other key attributes have been how he uses his telescopic legs to poke the ball past the keeper, how he reacts rapidly to rebounds and how he strikes penalties coherently.
Although he can look a touch awkward, his dribblings are a big asset, for it’s so difficult to predict what he’ll do next, thus allowing him to generate room before shooting or when beating his man. Factor in his aforementioned speed and his repertoire of moves to beat trackers, which consists of shimmies, changes of pace, body swerves, stop-goes and fake shots, and this adds to his menace.
His examplary passing abilities have seen him contribute 17 assists this season. His vision, awareness and execution have seen him pick out teammates with eloquent passes in promising areas. He produces the odd cutting through balls and artful assists; he tees up opponents with calculated, well delivered passes.
Going by his plethora of skills, Sadiq Umar his slowly but surely working his way to be a complete all round centre forward.
Super Eagles fans are now both keen to see which club his signs for and when he features for the Nigeria in coming assignments.