•Atletico Madrid, Everton chase star
Rejected Super Eagles goal machine, Ikechukwu Uche has turned a hot cake in Europe as his superb performance in Spain this season has alerted a number of top clubs.
Recently crowned La Liga Champions, Atletico Madrid and English Premiership club, Everton are neck-to-neck in battle to sign the Nigerian, who was rejected for the World Cup by coach Stephen Keshi.
Newswatch Sports gathered that Atletico Madrid want him as a possible replacement for Chelsea-bound Diego Costa, while Everton want him to take over from Romelu Lukaku, whose season loan spell to the Toffees has expired and he may likely return to Stamford Bridge.
Uche who confirmed this exclusively to Newswatch Sports on phone from his base in Spain said: “I am aware that some clubs here in Spain are interested in me, but there is no contact yet. There are also talks of some interest from England. But so far, I think they are all transfer speculations. We will see what happens.
“Personally, I would be very happy to play in England. It is the desire of every player to play in the Premier League having being told a lot of good things about football in England by my teammates in the national team. It has been my dream to play for a top club in Europe, particularly in England and I pray the opportunity comes. Their style of football will suit me and I hope to be a huge success.”
The 30-year-old finished this season as the top scorer for his Spanish club, Villarrealwith 14 goals to help them book a ticket for Europa Cup after placing sixth with 59 points from 38 matches.
Uche’s tally placed him in 13th place on the LaLiga goal scorer’s chart and tied with Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca and Celta Vigo’s Nolito. He also holds the record for the highest scoring Nigerian in Spain after breaking Finidi George’s haul of 11 goals with Real Betis in the -90s.
Surprisingly, despite his goal scoring form, the ex-Getafe and Real Zaragoza player was not considered good enough by Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi for his World Cup squad.