STEVEN Gerrard’s Rangers revolution looks set to continue apace this week with the arrival of Roma striker Umar Sadiq on loan.

The Nigerian will provide welcome ammunition to the Ibrox manager’s arsenal of attacking options, with competitive action beginning this week in the Europa League first qualifying round.

As SportTimes reported on Monday, the Light Blues hope to have a deal completed before Thursday’s clash with FK Shkupi at Ibrox.

Sadiq will be the eighth new player to come through the door in Govan since the Liverpool legend took the reins and we have taken a closer look at what the Gers could be getting when he arrives from the Italian capital.


Age: 21
Club: Roma
Born: Kaduna, Nigeria
Position: Striker
Last season: Torino, loan (3 apps, 0 goals); NAC Breda, loan (13 apps, 5 goals)
International: Nigeria 2016 Olympic team (6 caps, 4 goals)
Honours: Olympic bronze medal

The story so far

As a youngster, Sadiq developed in the ranks of the Abuja Football College in Nigeria. The academy was founded by the Italian-born businessman Gabriele Volpi who is also owner of Serie B outfit Spezia, and that connection led to Sadiq’s first chance to make the jump to European club football.

An agreement was struck in 2013 for the teenage striker to join Serie D side Lavagnese for a year before moving to Spezia, where he arrived in the summer of 2014. Although he never made a senior appearance for the club he did manage to make an impact, finishing as top scorer for their youth team with 26 goals in the 2014/15 campaign and attracting the interest of Serie A giants Roma in the process.

A loan move to the capital club was agreed for one season in 2015 and it proved to be an eventful year for the Nigerian. At youth level, Sadiq scored 19 goals for the Giallorossi as they won Italy’s Primavera championship for just the second time in 11 years. However, he was forced to sit out the crucial final few matches of the campaign after receiving a six-match ban for elbowing a Lazio player in the face during a heated league game.

It wasn’t just at youth level that Sadiq made an impression though, as Roma boss Rudi Garcia handed him several opportunities with the first team. The striker took advantage, scoring against Genoa and Chievo in Serie A as he finished the campaign with six first-team appearances to his name.

Evening Times:

He had done enough for Roma to hand over £2 million for his signature in June 2016 as the youngster penned a four-year contract at the Stadio Olimpico.

International recognition followed as Sadiq travelled to the Rio 2016 Olympics with Nigeria, where he scored four goals in six games for the Super Eagles, including a brace in the bronze medal match against Honduras, which they won 3-2 to go home with a medal.

A loan move to Bologna in the 2016/17 season gave Sadiq the chance to make a real impact in Serie A and the Rossoblu managed to agree a deal that gave them the right to buy the player at the end of his stint.

However, a year passed and Bologna decided against a permanent move after Sadiq had failed to score in seven appearances during a campaign blighted by injury.

Another loan move beckoned last summer as the Nigerian headed to Torino, but again he struggled to make his mark in the Italian top-flight and he returned to the capital in January having played just three games.

Sadiq’s fourth loan move in three years took him to Dutch outfit NAC Breda for the second half of the season. This stint proved to be far more successful as he scored on his debut against Heracles before finding the net a further four times, including in big-game clashes with AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord.

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Sadiq has picked up the nickname ‘the flute’ due to his long, slender build and his height does make him stand out.

At 6ft 3in he provides a towering presence in the box, but this is paired with excellent technique and good finishing ability.

The 21-year-old has been described by former teammates as unpredictable and awkward to play against and his speed and physicality could make him a good match for the Scottish game.

What has been said

NAC Breda team-mate Karol Mets

“In a lot of ways, he’s a pain in the ass, in a good way. He’s so unpredictable you don’t really know what’s coming next from him. He’s got the X-factor in that sense.

“Having played against him in training I know he’s a tough kind of guy to mark.

“He can create things for himself because he has good close control and ability and he’ll make things happen for the team. When he came to us he had a knack for scoring against the big clubs in Holland — he got goals against PSV Eindhoven, AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord in the few months he was at the club.

Former Roma manager Rudi Garcia, who signed Sadiq for the Giallorossi

“He has that big-game mentality, he doesn’t shrink away from a big occasion.

I think it would be a great move for both parties.

“Umar would have much to offer them, but he would also benefit greatly because this is a club with a great tradition and a truly exceptional support.

“I took Marseille to Ibrox for a match last season, and I was very impressed by them.

“It was if they felt they were attending a Champions League tie, not a friendly game.

“Scottish football is certainly very physical, so Sadiq would need to learn how to deal with that aspect of the game.

“But I wouldn’t see that being a problem as he is a good learner, who always listens very carefully to what his coaches tell him.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

“He would bring us a forward option with his height, power and presence. He's a player who actually works too hard, believe it or not.

“He does tons of running and he's very enthusiastic. He's the type of player who offers just as much out of possession as he does in possession, which is important”