Yakubu could be bargain of the summer

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Steve Kean probably thought things could not get worse for him as Blackburn Rovers boss, but reports of Yakubu’s desire to leave Ewood Park will have made it so.

The Nigerian striker was joint fourth top goalscorer in the Premier League last season and while Kean will be dismayed at the prospect of him leaving, clubs still in the league will be licking their lips.

Yakubu has always been something of a conundrum during his time in England, but the penny seemed to drop last season and the 29-year-old was brilliant scoring 17 league goals.

He joined Blackburn last summer from Everton for an undisclosed fee, but it was reported to be in the region of £1million and the Lancashire club are likely to get a tidy profit for selling him this time.

He would be the perfect addition for a number of teams in the league and he has proved himself to possess the necessary movement to thrive in the systems being used by most clubs in the competition.

A newly promoted club would be the most likely destination for him – he would be an especially useful addition for a club such as Southampton, who do not have any real Premier League experience and could do with his expertise in the opposition area.

Kean used him primarily as a lone forward and this is something that will even interest teams who currently reside in the top half of the league.

The listlessness that pervaded when he was with the Toffees, prompting them to loan him out to Championship side Leicester City, has disappeared and he is now looking like the dangerous muscular forward we saw at Portsmouth and Middlesbrough, but with added penalty-box nous.

Though they are unlikely to bag him for a similar bargain price of £1million as Rovers did, Yakubu is unlikely to cost as much as it would to purchase any other striker who had scored that amount of goals in a season.

Even a club like Liverpool would find some benefit in acquiring his services; before Anfield fans baulk, consider that he will cost a fraction of the money they paid for the rest of their strike force and has outscored them comprehensively in a far inferior team.

Liverpool’s biggets problem has been converting chances, something Yakubu has been doing for fun at Blackburn, while his career so far means he is unlikely to demand a regular place in the starting XI and could provide an added dimension to their bench.

In fact, most sides in the top half could find a use for him; his interchange play has improved drastically and he is finding space for himself in the box more easily at set pieces.

Yakubu appears to have developed a greater appreciation for his qualities and is now starting to exploit these attributes more effectively, much like Bobby Zamora has done in the past few seasons.

The former Maccabi Haifa striker could be suffering from the same stigma as Zamora, with his early career having the view that he belongs in mid-table sides set in stone.

Using the evidence of last season, Yakubu could make a significant contribution to most sides without being entirely spectacular.

To use an old cliché; feed the Yak and he will, genuinely, score – somebody needs to take a gamble.

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Bobby Zamora
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

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