After rumoured interest from Turin and Milan giants- Juventus and Inter for his signature failed to materialise during last winter transfer season, David Okereke eventually pitched tent with Club Brugge where he has been calling the shots until recently when he lost first-team place. His two goals on Boxing Day may have won him back his front row seat
An elated Club Brugge Manager, Philippe Clement, says he is excited seeing David Okereke ending the year just the way he started the season.
“Okereke is back to the form he was at the beginning of this season we continue in January,” Clement said.
Okereke made a stunning return to action for runaway leaders Club Brugge coming off the bench to score twice in their 4-0 win over SV Zulte Waregem on Boxing Day.
Having failed to feature in any of their last three fixtures, the 22-year-old was once again listed among the substitutes with Belgian League hotshot Emmanuel Dennis giving the nod to start alongside Krepin Diatta.
The Senegalese forward did, however, make good use of the opportunity when he opened scoring just on the half-hour mark to give Brugge a narrow half time lead.
Okereke was then introduced for fellow countryman Dennis on the hour mark and he took the forward just 60 seconds to make his impact felt when he doubled their lead to make it 2-0 on 61 minutes.
The Nigerian was on hand again three minutes later when he made it 3-0 before midfielder Ruud Vormer made it a perfect Boxing Day and a good end to the year to complete a comfortable 4-0 bashing.
The goals now see Okereke take the initiative as the country’s top scorer in the division with his ninth strikes better than the duo of Paul Onuachu and Emmanuel Dennis who have seven and five respectively, whilst out of favour forward Stephen Odey continues his search for regular playing time.
Okereke believes next year will be better than the outgone one after he netted twice for his ninth league goal of the season.
The striker whose last goal for Club Brugge was on November 2 said he was happy to end his goal drought while hoping to get better next year.
“It is always nice scoring goals again after a very long time but I know that I can do more in the games ahead,” Okereke noted.
He continued: “I thank the technical crew for the opportunity and my teammates too for the support when I needed it most in the game. I know I can only get better.”
On his recent lack of games, the former Spezia of Italy midfielder noted that he knew he must work harder to regain his place in the team.
“I can’t really say that but we have a good team and you have to work hard to get a chance to play so I guess I just have to continue working and keep fighting.”
The former U-23 star has scored 11 goals from all competitions including nine in the Belgian League where Club Brugge is dictating the pace with 49 points from 20 matches.
The Belgian League resume on January 18 with Club Brugge away to fallen giants, Anderlecht.
Before joining Brugge, Premier League strugglers, Crystal Palace turned their direction at the former Spezia striker with Palace having been looking to add goals to their squad, with Roy Hodgson’s men among the lowest scorers in the Premier League.
The Eagle were interested in the then 21-year-old forward who had lit up Serie B last season with Spezia.
Palace were said to have sent scouts to watch Okereke in action during Spezia’s thrilling 4-4 draw away at Brescia and Nigerian forward did not disappoint as he scored one and set up another at the Mario Rigamonti Stadium.
Serie A side Inter Milan also tracked him in view of signing him last year’s January with the option of leaving him at Spezia on loan till the end of the season before a decision will be made on his involvement with them in pre-season last summer.
Though no bid was tabled but it was believed that Inter are confident of their strong relationship with Spezia and a deal could be done if all goes according to plan.
According to Italian outlet Il Secolo XIX, as cited on Inside Futbol, Turin giants, Juventus also kept a close eye on Okereke’s development.
Born in Lagos, Okereke began his career in Italy with Lavagnese before his shift to Spezia in 2016, he rose through the ranks before making his professional debut against Novara on April 9, 2016.
He has played 36 games in total for Spezia across all levels, scoring eight goals while providing one assist.
Okereke is a product of Football College Abuja, the academy that produced AS Roma young duo Sadiq Umar and Nura Abdullahi.