Umar Sadiq’s time at Roma was not quite a case of blink and you miss it, but neither was it a spell to capture the imagination and prevent a passionate fan base from forgetting all about him after having a few good nights’ sleep.
The languid forward arrived at Stadio Olimpico in 2015 on an initial loan deal. He initially spent a few months with the club’s Primavera side before debuting with the first team in November 2015. He scored his first goal just one month later on 20 December, scoring just minutes after he replaced Mohamed Salah and helping Roma secure a home win over Genoa.
He finished the 2015/16 campaign with 2 goals in six total league appearances. However, this would mark the end of his stint with the capital club as he spent the following four years on loan at Bologna, Torino, NAC Breda, Perugia, and Partizan Belgrade, whom he joined permanently in 2020.
Sadiq – after registering two goals through six appearances during his loan spell – would not take in another competitive outing for the club. Instead, he was asked to further his development with Bologna, Torino, NAC Breda, Rangers, Perugia and Partizan Belgrade.
Roma cannot be considered to have missed him all that much, with firepower found down other avenues. They may have turned their back on the Nigeria international, but interest from his homeland remains.
Odds of 33/1 for Serie A title glory at Nairabet certainly won’t raise the Scudetto hopes of Giallorossi supporters but they could improve should Jose Mourinho’s find form and consistency.
The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Andrea Belotti, Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala will lead the charge, but there could be a freshening up of attacking ranks in a future transfer window.
Proven goalscorers are worth their weight in gold, and Sadiq has shown that he can occupy that talent bracket since bidding farewell to the Italian capital.
He found the target on 23 occasions in 52 outings for Partizan, before then hitting 43 in 84 for Almeria. A switch to Real Sociedad in 2022 has allowed him to remain in Spain, while testing himself on a prominent La Liga stage.
Injuries have prevented him from making the desired impact in the Basque Country, but his stock has soared to the point that there was talk of Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool monitoring his progress at one stage.
If he became a prolific presence once more, then there is every reason to believe that Roma could rejoin the race for his signature. The man himself has left the door open for such a move to be made at some point.
“Roma is my second home. I have my house there and my family. Roma gives me a beautiful atmosphere and everything for me. You never know the future,” proclaimed Sadiq in an interview last year.
He is looking more like the player that the Giallorossi believed he was when first getting his services, and one deserving of comparisons with some famous countrymen.
Sadiq – who owns a place in the history books as the only Nigerian to have scored for Roma – once said of being likened to former Ajax, Inter and Arsenal star Nwankwo Kanu: “I feel honoured to be compared to such a legend and a great African football ambassador who also at one time in his career played in Italy.”
Sadiq was unable to make the same kind of impact in Serie A first time around, but it may be the case that all roads still lead to Rome for him as he seeks to prove that he can make the grade at the highest possible level.