Transfer news


14 Nov 2005
Rumours come and rumours go, but the truth is that Ikechukwu Uche continues to appear in the Spanish papers as the main target of Deportivo in order to reinforce the attacking zone. A lot has been said about this 20-year-old Nigerian striker, but who is he? tries to answer the question.

Ikechukwu Uche was born in Aba (Nigeria) on January 5th, 1984. He's the younger brother of Kalu Uche, a midfielder that made his career during the past years playing for Espanyol, Bordeaux and mainly in Wisla Krakow. Ikechukwu started his football career in 1999 when he signed for Amanze United and later he played with Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 2000.

In 2001 he attended the training sessions of Nigeria's U-17 team in order to prepare the participation in the World Cup that took place in Trinidad & Tobago, but he wasn't chosen for the final squad. However, his performance called the attention of Spanish clubs and he was signed by Racing Ferrol, the deal involved a brief dispute because of monetary terms and had to be settled by FIFA.

About his characteristics maybe one of the clearest descriptions was made by, a website that maintains weekly updates of the performances made by Nigerian players in Europe: "Good mobile forward with excellent vision, who can play on the right or left wing. Also has great ball control skills and can use both feet effectively" is the comment that appears on his webpage. He's also known for his acrobatic celebrations when he scores a goal.

Uche played only four games during his first season with Racing Ferrol, but in the 2002/03 campaign he participated in 24 games scoring two goals, apparently Deportivo noticed his performance then, but it was Recreativo Huelva who made a move for him. The transfer was valued at €250,000. An operation in which Albacete was previously denied.

It was in Recreativo where Uche found the stability that he was needing, and during the seasons 2003/04 and 2004/05 the Nigerian striker played 72 matches and scored 21 goals helping his squad to secure a place in Segunda. During the past summer the player was named as a possible reinforcement for Depor, even a €4 million offer was negotiated with Recreativo, but the method of payment didn't satisfy the aspirations of the Andalucian club and the deal was discarded. Instead president Francisco Mendoza affirmed that the only solution would be the payment of his buy out clause (€16 million).

The Nigerian player was so deluded with his possible transfer that when the deal was cancelled he entered into a depressed state. Recreativo decided to give him some rest and Uche missed the first matches of the season, but the forward returned just to score nine goals in nine matches converting him into the pichichi of Segunda and helping Recreativo to reach a promotion spot.

Lately other clubs like Real Betis and Portsmouth showed their interest in the player, but all the fingers continues to point to Deportivo. Apparently Lendoiro is preparing a second offer that could reach the €6 million mark. One of the keys in the operation is the fact that Recreativo only posses 60% of the rights to the player, the rest belonging to a financial group called Prisma Group. Rumours say that Lendoiro has an agreement with Prisma and with the player himself; the only point missing is a deal with Recreativo de Huelva.

Precisely the approval of Recreativo is the main difficulty for Lendoiro. It's not probable that the Andalucian club will agree to sell their main striker just when the squad is near to fulfil their third ascend into Primera. Besides the €6 million offer could be not enough for their president Francisco Mendoza; after all, they will only get the 60% of it. As he declared recently: "Uche is a key man for our team and his exit would only be possible for a big money offer."

It is possible that Deportivo will try to sign Uche during the winter window, but a transfer during next summer’s window is also wished. For the moment the Nigerian striker wants to be out of the polemic and he refuses to declare more details about his situation, as he said recently to the Spanish media: "I don't know if Deportivo will try to sign me once again. I can only just help my team in order to do the things in the right way. Later what has to come will come."

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