Kelechi Iheanacho: Super Eagles Star on Jose Mourinho’s Radar at AS Roma

Kelechi Iheanacho: Super Eagles Star on Jose Mourinho’s Radar at AS Roma
©Samuel Shivambu/Sports Inc - Photo by Icon Sport

AS Roma have set their sights on Nigeria striker Kelechi Iheanacho ahead of a summer move, according to reports from Forza Roma, a Roma-focused news platform.

The Super Eagles forward was the standout player of the 2022/23 season for Leicester City, who ended up getting relegated after a poor outing. The Foxes rewarded the striker with their Player of the Year award for his contributions which were largely from the bench.

Following their drop into the second division, fans have been gearing up for his exit. Reports now suggest that Roma could be his next destination.

Roma targeting Iheanacho and Daka as Tammy Abraham backup

Forza Roma reports that Kelechi Iheanacho is being targeted by Roma to provide backup for the team, who have lost England striker and former Super Eagles prospect Tammy Abraham to a long-term injury.

The former Chelsea forward picked up an ACL injury towards the end of last season and is projected to fully recover from the ensuing surgery around November 2023. The Giallorossi are in the market for a striker who would step up in Abraham’s absence and also provide competition for the England forward.

Iheanacho has emerged as an option and he could be linking up with Jose Mourinho, who has a good history with African players. Forza Roma cites the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera as its source, and that the general manager of the club, Tiago Pinto, is driving the operation.

The report also suggests that Iheanacho could have been a Roma player earlier. He was one of the strikers they were monitoring before they settled on signing Abraham from Chelsea in 2021. The signing has worked out for both sides to an extent but they feel that it is time to give him some competition, hence their return to the market for Iheancho.

The 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup hero could also be available for a cut price now that the Foxes have been relegated, which will make a transfer easy to negotiate. Roma’s participation in European competition could also sway Iheanacho’s decision.

Zambia striker Patson Daka, who is teammates with Iheanacho at Leicester City, is also an option for the Serie A club, according to the report.

Emerging options due to Scamacca situation – report

The report further goes on to claim that Pinto and Mourinho are looking at Iheanacho and Daka because of West Ham’s refusal to loan out Gianluca Scamacca.

The Italian striker joined the Hammers last summer but his move has not worked out. Roma approached the 2023 UEFA European Conference League winners to loan the striker but West Ham are only looking for an outright sale. For this reason, Roma have turned their attention to Leicester, who have two cut-price strikers in Iheanacho and Daka.

In the meantime, Pinto is looking to complete the transfers of midfielder Cristian Volpato and full-back Filippo Missori to finance the transfer of either Iheanacho, Daka or both.

Both Daka and Iheanacho could face each other at the 2023 AFCON finals in Ivory Coast as both Nigeria and Zambia have qualified for the showpiece.

This article was most recently revised and updated 6 months ago