Former Almeria coach José Gomes has revealed that Umar Sadiq was not the original player the Rojiblancos were keen to sign in 2020 as the Nigerian striker was relatively unknown until they watched him play.
In the summer of 2020, Almeria were in the market for a replacement for star forward Darwin Núñez, who had sealed a €20 million move to Benfica after netting 16 goals in 30 league games for La Union.
Gomes and his team arrived in Serbia to scout a striker on recommendation but decided to sign Sadiq instead after the ex-AS Roma starlet showed his quality with his performance. Sadiq had scored 23 goals in 52 games for Partizan.
“In Portugal, the Serbian League is followed a lot, and they told me about a forward from Partizan Belgrade who had played for Nacional,” Gomes, who managed Almeria between July 2020 and April 2021, told El Pais.
“We went to see him, and we met Sadiq (instead). He dazzled me, and I told the Almería managers that he had to be signed straightaway. We went for a player, and we brought another one.
“Yes, it was a coincidence. These things happen in football.”
Sadiq became an instant hit at Almeria, netting 20 goals in 40 Segunda Division matches in his debut season in Spain.
That brilliance fetched him interests from Manchester City, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, and Getafe, but no club coughed out the €30 million reportedly being demanded by Almeria.
The 24-year-old has not been distracted by the transfer rumours as he has amassed six goals and two assists in nine games already this term.
And Gomes is convinced that the Nigerian star is a notch above the second division and should be in a team vying for Champions League qualification.
“He can play perfectly in a team that aspires to qualify for the Champions League,” the current Al-Taawoun manager said.
“Sadiq not only marks, he contributes a lot to the team’s game. He has lived a lot with 24 years and can improve. He is a boy who responds to confidence.”
Sadiq sits joint-top of the Spanish Segunda Division goalscoring chart with six goals alongside Eibar’s Stoichkov.