Exclusive: Leeds Utd ‘in the equation’ for four-minute hat-trick scorer, with Leicester City also ‘one to watch’
Leeds United and Leicester City appear to be among the clubs keeping tabs on Gent striker Gift Orban, TEAMtalk has been told by respected journalist Ben Jacobs.
Orban is in the headlines at present after scoring a hat-trick inside four minutes for Gent in their Europa Conference League win over Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday. His goals came in the 31st, 32nd and 34th minutes to give his side a three-goal advantage.
Gent went on to see out a 4-1 win in the second leg of their round of 16 clash. By winning 5-2 on aggregate, they have progressed to the quarter-finals.
Hence, there will be more to see from Orban in the weeks ahead. For now, he can celebrate his achievement of scoring the fastest ever hat-trick in a UEFA competition, which was officially measured at three minutes and 25 seconds.
But attention will naturally be growing in the 20-year-old from Nigeria. Now, Jacobs has assessed with TEAMtalk the chances of a Premier League transfer for Orban.
“Gift Orban has said that his dream is to eventually play in the Premier League,” Jacobs said.
“Of course, he only joined Gent in January, which makes a summer move relatively unlikely, although because of Gent playing in Belgium, there is a realistic chance that a top European club might just be able to put in an offer that’s too good to turn down.
“But at the moment, we have to bear in mind that Gift Orban is only 20 years of age and still developing, and is very happy at Gent. So he’s not desperately trying to force his way out come summer, and therefore that type of transfer barring a very healthy offer, and maybe even a Premier League club taking a risk, because he’s so early in his development, might be more one to watch in 2024.
“But what Orban is doing is putting himself in the shop window. This week alone, he’s scored seven goals including a four-minute hat-trick in the Europa Conference League. And then on top of that, four goals in the Belgian Pro League. So between Sunday and Wednesday, the young Nigerian scored seven goals, which is absolutely incredible. And when you have that type of scoring form, you’re bound to pique the interest of suitors.
“And he is, naturally, because they’re both Nigerian being compared a little bit to Victor Osimhen, he’s a little bit smaller than Osimhen, but he’s not afraid to put his body about, he’s clinical, he’s intelligent and he’s got good awareness.”
Two potential suitors named for Gift Orban
Specifically, the clubs to keep an eye on as things stand for Orban are Leicester City and Leeds United.
“Prior to joining Gent, there were a few clubs that had looked at him from all around Europe,” Jacobs continued. “Atalanta were one, Lyon had taken a look as well.
“And now in terms of clubs that have him on the radar, and have at least scouted him, but it’s nothing more than that, at this point, Leicester City are one to watch and they’ve got a relatively rich recent history of signing top players from Nigeria so they could be one to watch as far as the Premier League is concerned.
“I think that Leeds United could be in the equation as well, because they’re on the lookout come summer for a young striker and somebody to alleviate the burden on Patrick Bamford.”
That said, Orban might not have enough experience yet to encourage clubs to make a move so suddenly.
“But, once again, Gift Orban just hasn’t played that many senior games for anybody,” Jacobs concluded. “If you look back to his time when he was very young, on loan at Stabaek, and with the move, if you add up all those games, it’s not actually a lot, even for a 20-year-old.
“So sticking around at Gent for another year might be in the player’s best interest in order to keep on scoring, keep on starting games and playing and then seeing who comes calling, but there are a variety of suitors keeping tabs on this one.
“But he’s been at Gent for so little time, that it might be a little bit too premature to be talking about a summer exit just yet.”
Orban only joined Gent on January 31 after previously playing for Stabaek in Norway. So far, he has scored 12 goals from nine appearances for his newest employers.
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