2 February 2019

Nigeria: David Okereke - New Toast of European Clubs

From Italian giants- Juventus and Inter Milan to Premier League strugglers- Crystal Palace and middle tableside, Wolverhampton Wanderers, one name of interest to them all is the product of the Football College, Abuja- David Okereke

After scoring his sixth Serie B goal of the season last weekend, Premier League strugglers, Crystal Palace who had had goalscoring challenge from the beginning of the season is turning their direction to Spezia striker, David Okereke.

Palace have been looking to add goals to their squad, with Roy Hodgson's men among the lowest scorers in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace have identified a new striker target in Okerere but he might however not be the proven Premier League goalscorer that the fans were hoping for as The Eagles hover above the relegation zone.

Palace, all the same, are interested in the 21-year-old forward who has lit up Serie B this season with Spezia.

Okereke has scored six goals for a team appropriately nicknamed The Little Eagles while producing another eight assists. That is a fine tally for a player who continues to go from strength to strength in the Italian lower leagues.

Palace were said to have sent scouts to watch Okereke in action during Spezia's thrilling 4-4 draw away at Brescia on Sunday and Nigerian forward did not disappoint as he scored one and set up another at the Mario Rigamonti Stadium.

It is not certain how much Crystal Palace would be willing to pay for Okereke but they are likely to face competition from Belgian outfit Standard Liege, who were also present at Brescia last weekend.

Serie A side Inter Milan are already looking at the prospect of Okereke coming to San Siro in the summer.

Linked with a move to Standard Liege of Belgium last summer, he decided to extend his contract with Spezia till 2022 upon his return from a productive loan spell from Serie C side Cosenza, where he spent last season on loan.

Inter Milan are tracking the 21-year-old in view of signing him in January with the option of leaving him at Spezia on loan till the end of the current season before a decision will be made on his involvement with them in pre-season next summer.

No bid has been tabled yet but it's believed that Inter are confident of their strong relationship with Spezia and a deal could be done if all goes according to plan.

According to Italian outlet Il Secolo XIX, as cited on Inside Futbol, Turin giants, Juventus are also keeping a close eye on Okereke's development. The report claims a number of top-flight Italian teams have also registered an interest, with the Nigerian continuing to impress in the second tier.

The 21-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with Spezia last season before he was farmed out on loan to Società Cosenza Calcio.

Born in Lagos, Okereke began his career in Italy with Lavagnese before his shift to Spezia in 2016, he rose through the ranks before making his professional debut against Novara on April 9, 2016.

He has played 36 games in total for Spezia across all levels, scoring eight goals while providing one assist.

Okereke is a product of Football College Abuja, the academy that produced AS Roma young duo Sadiq Umar and Nura Abdullahi.

Nicknamed "Sadiq Umar II" by fans of Spezia due to the fact that he passed through same route before arriving at the team like former forward Sadiq Umar, who is now at Bologna after a short stint at Roma.

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