Leeds United In The Hunt For Carpi’s Nigerian Striker Jerry Mbakogu
Championship side Leeds United are continuing with their interest in Carpi’s Jerry Mbakogu after the Nigerian striker secured Italian citizenship and became eligible to play in the English League.
Jerry Mbakogu’s Italian citizenship was formally confirmed last week, the new citizenship status of the Nigerian born striker implies that work permit issues in England is settled and this has given Leeds United the green light to go ahead with plans to bring him to the Championship.
The 25-year-old Carpi striker moved to Italy as a youngster and has remained in the country since then, he has never been capped by Nigeria and this means he would not have qualified for a Football Association work permit without an EU passport.
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However, the confirmation of his new citizenship status which came just in time before the European transfer market opens in the summer has rekindled the interest of the Championship team on the Italian based striker.
Leeds United have been tracking Jerry Mbakogu since January when talks with Serie B club Carpi were first initiated. Leeds United, who have the first refusal on the forward decided to delay any deal for the striker until the summer due to the uncertainty surrounding his citizenship application with the Italian authorities.
Carpi also expressed their wish to keep him until the end of the season. Jerry Mbakogu has been sidelined by injury in most part of the second stanza of the Serie B season. However, he was back in Carpi’s side as a substitute during the 0-0 draw with Avelino on Saturday.
Carpi are eight points adrift of the playoff spot with just four matches left to play, they are unlikely to make the playoffs. They are also safe from relegation troubles, so effectively they have little to play for in their remaining league matches except for pride and the satisfaction of finishing as high as possible on the league standing.
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Mbakogu has never been a prolific striker, last season he managed a paltry 5 goals in 20 league appearances, and this season he has scored 6 goals in 23 league appearances so far.
Jerry Mbakogu’s highest goal haul for Carpi was in the 2014/15 season when he scored 15 goals in 30 appearances to help the modest Serie B club gain promotion to the Serie A. However his poor goal ratio notwithstanding Leeds United are tempted to take a chance on a player who is valued in the region of £4m.