Rangers have completed the signing of forward Umar Sadiq on loan from AS Roma. Here’s everything you need to know about the new recruit.
He’s a technical striker rather than a battler
Though he stands at around 6ft 4in, Sadiq is better known for his technique than his aerial prowess or ability to fight with defenders. That said, he’s not exactly waif-like either. There’s enough power and strength to his game to allow him to hold his own in the Scottish top flight.
When he plays he scores
After his move to Spezia in Serie B he bagged 14 goals in his first 18 games. He’s also found the back of the net regularly playing for Roma’s youth side and the Nigerian under-23 team at the Olympics in 2016.
Of course, there’s a reason he didn’t regularly for Roma or in either of his loan spells at Torino and Bologna. He’s not yet good enough for that standard.
Whether he’s of the required standard to shine in Scottish football remains to be seen, but if he is then he should produce a healthy goal return, as indicated by his six-month spell in the Eredivise last year with Breda. Despite only starting six times in 12 appearances he found the back of the net on five occasions.
He’s been compared to Kanu
The similarities are there. Both are Nigerian, have a gangly body frame with long limbs, and do their best work with their feet instead of their head despite having a height advantage over most players on the pitch.
As Sadiq told Supersport: “I feel honoured to be compared to such a legend and a great African football ambassador who also at one time in his career played in Italy. I hope and pray to work hard and achieve as much as he did.
“I loved watching him play when I was a kid and every day I work hard on my game to be the best. He is my role model. I’ll work hard and make sure I achieve my goals of being the best.”
Rangers haven’t really had a target man in their side these past few years. Mark Warburton didn’t want his teams to play in that style, and while Pedro Caixinha looked to add that element in Eduardo Herrera, he never looked quite up to the demands of the Scottish top flight. He was big, but he lacked the mobility to thrive in a game that moves at 110mph.
Sadiq is not like that. He’s not lightning quick but he can shift and will outrun slower centre-backs. Most importantly, he’s dynamic enough to move fluidly around the attack in the final third.
He works hard
Steven Gerrard has already revealed a weakness in his new signing’s game - he works too hard. It obviously not much of a criticism, but often a player can get too caught up with chasing play and forget the bigger picture. Though the attitude is commendable, such exuberance can create gaps in a team’s shape or tire out the individual so he’s unable to earn his money doing what he’s paid to do: score goals. Gerrard knows he’ll need to reign it in a little, but it’s a good problem to have. It’s certainly preferable to getting someone who won’t lift a leg to run a mile.
As he said: “He’s a player that works too hard believe it or not. He does tons and tons of running. He’s very enthusiastic. He’s the type of player who gives you just as much out of possession as he does in possession which is very important.”