Fulham look to have failed in their attempts to bring Ike Ugbo to Craven Cottage this summer.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a claim made by Fabrizio Romano, who revealed in a post on Twitter that the Chelsea centre-forward has now agreed terms with Belgian side KRC Genk ahead of a summer switch.
The journalist goes on to state that the 22-year-old wants to join the Jupiler Pro League as quickly as possible, with the deal expected to be completed in the coming days.
Previous reports had claimed that Fulham, as well as Premier League side West Ham United, were also keen on a move for the former England U20 international this summer, however, it now appears as if the London duo have missed out on the striker’s signing.
While Chelsea themselves rarely benefit directly from their own relentless production line, the Blues academy often presents opportunities for so-called smaller sides to reap the rewards of the champions of Europe’s youth setup, with Ugbo being the latest example of this.
Having joined the Blues at the age of eight, the centre-forward failed to make a single senior appearance during his 14-year spell at Chelsea, despite having highly impressed during a number of loan spells away from the club.
These returns saw the man the Belgian media dubbed a “decisive” player earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.79, ranking him as Yves Vanderhaeghe’s eighth-best performer in the Belgian top flight.
So, while Chelsea clearly believe that Ugbo is not of the standard required to feature on a regular basis for their first team, it is evident that the Blues have nevertheless produced an extremely capable goalscorer.
And, with the 22-year-old reported to be available to purchase for a fee between €3 and €5m (£2.5m and £4.3m), there very much appeared to be the opportunity for Fulham to land an extremely talented player who has spent 14 years developing at one of the most prestigious clubs in the world for next to nothing this summer.
However, with Genk looking as if they have beaten the Cottagers to the signing of the youngster, this opportunity is one that now seems to have passed the club by – and we would not bet against the west London side coming to regret not pushing harder to land the striker at some point in the not too distant future.