Former Rangers loanee Umar Sadiq scored a hat-trick inside the opening 30 minutes of Almeria’s 3-1 win over Ponferradina on Sunday as his stock continues to rise.
Expectations were high when Sadiq joined the Gers on loan from Roma at the start of the 2018/19 season, but he failed to deliver during his time in Glasgow.
The 6ft 4″ striker made just four appearances in all competitions and infamously dived when apparently through on goal in a League Cup semi-final defeat to Aberdeen.
He returned to Italy months ahead of schedule and is seen as one of the worst signings made by the club since Steven Gerrard’s appointment as manager.
Sadiq looks a different player these days, though, and signed for ambitious Spanish second-tier club Almeria during the summer for a reported £4.5m [Ideal.es via Sportski Zurnal] after scoring 23 goals and notching 19 assists in 52 appearances for Partizan Belgrade.
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He’s started well in the Segunda División and scored a remarkable hat-trick inside half an hour against Ponferradina at the weekend.
Sadiq guided a confident first-time left-footed finish into the top left corner after being slipped through on goal in the 2nd minute, before pouncing on a knockdown to slam home a second in the 21st minute.
The former Nigeria youth international then completed his hat-trick in the 29th minute, after bizarrely initially turning down an open goal in favour of attempting to dribble around the goalkeeper.
Incredibly, he could have had a fourth goal before the interval, but he slammed an effort off the right post after expertly taking down a cross from the left with his chest.
Almeria went on to win the game 3-1 despite going down to ten men in the 76th minute and they now sit third in the Segunda División, just a point behind leaders Espanyol.
Sadiq now has six goals in his last five appearances and although he only penned a five-year deal in October, if he can guide his new club back to La Liga, big offers may arrive for him in the summer.
Meanwhile, a reported transfer target for both Rangers and Celtic has reportedly accepted an offer from a big European club.