Manchester City are one of the sides hovering for Almeria striker Umar Sadiq, according to reports in Spain.
City are preparing for life after Sergio Aguero, who has left to join Barcelona on a free transfer. To further complicate their striker situation, Gabriel Jesus has also been linked with an exit. Harry Kane would be their main target up front, but may prove too expensive even for them.
With Aguero viewed as irreplaceable anyway, City might alter their plans in terms of signing a striker. They have sometimes used a system with a false nine and could continue down that route.
Alternatively, they could look to sign someone with a lower profile, who could eventually grow into a more prominent role. To that end, they have identified Sadiq as a target.
Sadiq has endured a rather turbulent career so far. He began with Spezia in Italy before moving to join Roma’s youth ranks. After initially making a good impression in their first team with two goals from six games, though, he struggled to settle.
Six separate loan spells away from the Italian capital followed, including a forgettable stint with Rangers. He only made four appearances for the Scottish side and failed to score in that time. They terminated his deal just a few months after acquiring his services.
Doubts are emerging that Harry Kane will get the transfer of his choice this summer – read the latest here.
But over the last couple of years, Sadiq has started to regain the form he was showing as a youth player. He joined Partizan permanently in 2020 and scored six goals from 13 games.
That form saw him move to Spain, where Almeria snapped up his services. He impressed in his debut season in the Spanish second tier, scoring 22 goals from 43 games in all competitions.
Now, he is back on the radar of big clubs, and Manchester City are among his admirers, according to AS.
Sevilla and Villarreal want to give him a chance in La Liga. Further afield, he is attracting interest from Spartak Moscow and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Sadiq made to wait by City
But City have a plan if they are to sign Sadiq, which may help further his development. The report claims they could sign the 24-year-old this summer and loan him to sister club Troyes for the 2021-22 season.
Then, they would look to integrate him for the 2022-23 campaign, by which point he will hope to have cemented his reputation further.
A move to the Premier League champions would seem quite the step up for Sadiq. Therefore, that extra year of transition may be a critical factor in convincing him.
But first, City must find an agreement with Almeria, who lost in the semi-finals of the promotion play-offs to get to La Liga earlier this month.
With no top flight football on offer, they may be in a weaker negotiating position. But that doesn’t necessarily mean City can be confident of winning the race to sign him yet.
However, he is definitely affordable, as the asking price is €30m. City must now weigh up whether that would represent good value for money.