Gift Orban shows quality against English opposition in Conference League

Gift Orban shows quality against English opposition in Conference League

Super Eagles prospect Gift Orban has made a case for why he deserves a big move to the Premier League following his breathtaking performance in the latest round of the UEFA European Conference League.

The 20-year-old striker is one of a number of Nigerian-born 0layers who have taken the world by storm in the 2022/23 season. Playing for Belgian side KAA Gent, Orban has shown incredible skill and a knack for goal-scoring that rivals the best in the world.

In the Belgian Pro League, the former Stabæk Fotball man has played eight matches and has scored nine goals. In the Conference League, he has five goals in five games.

Although he failed to add to his tally in his latest outing for the side, he was one of the standout performers as Gent drew 1 – 1 with West Ham United to set up an interesting second leg of their quarter final tie in the Conference League.

The Premier League side were the favourites to take all three points even though Gent were the hosts. However, Orban led the line for the hosts, causing problems for the Hammers, who are one of the club's reported to be monitoring him.

It took concerted efforts from David Moyes' side to stop the Nigerian. When they went up, Orban continued and his efforts led to their equaliser, scored by his striker partner Hugo Cuypers. He almost added a second with a brilliant overhead kick but the crossbar denied him another goal and Gent a chance to put the game to bed.

Gent are in a similar position as they were in their round of 16 game. Following a 1 – 1 draw versus Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir, Gent scored a historic three-minute hatrick to help his side win 4 – 1 and seal a match with West Ham. The London stadium awaits and fans of the club will be hoping he can produce the same magic once more.

Orban will also be in the full view of all the Premier League scouts who have been commissioned to report on him ahead of a possible transfer in the summer.

Orban, who only moved to Europe in 2022, is now one of the hottest properties in football. Signed on the January transfer deadline day by Gent for €3.5 million, he was seen as a gamble by the Belgian media. They now sing his praises every time he takes to the field.

“The price was supposed to be lower, but it went up after David Datro Fofana was sold from Molde to Chelsea for 12m euros (£10.5m),” said Michel Louwagie, chairman of Gent before West Ham visited them. “It was a risk, but head of recruitment Samuel Cardenas kept telling me every day that we absolutely must sign him.”

Cardenas added: “From the first time I watched Gift, I saw something special in him. His movement is exceptional; he is complete in the sense that he can combine and score in every way technically. We were brave to gamble on him, but my opinion was trusted, and it pays off to be bold. I would lie, though, if I said that I expected him to perform so fast.”

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 year ago

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