Excitement as Germans intensify Ujah chase, City drop Iheanacho
German Bundesliga newcomers Hannover 96 have stepped up their pursuit of out-of-favour Nigeria forward Anthony Ujah who is reportedly eager to ditch his relegation-bound Chinese Super League outfit Liaoning Whowin this summer.
Hannover manager Andre Breitenreiter, who is scouring the transfer market for a proven goalscorer to ensure the Reds retain their top-flight status at the end of the season, has set Ujah out as a key transfer target.
The 26-year-old, who joined Liaoning from Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on July 5, 2016 on a four-year deal worth around €13m, wants a fresh start and has reportedly agreed terms with Hannover to return to Germany where he made a name for himself between 2012 and 2016.
Ujah scored 14 goals in 35 games for Cologne while on a season’s loan (2014-15) at RheinEnergieStadion from Mainz 05, before scoring 11 goals in 32 Bundesliga games to help Werder avoid relegation last year, after joining them on May 25, 2015.
The former Warri Wolves frontman has hit the back of the net just five times for Liaoning in 14 league appearances this term.
With the North-Eastern Chinese side just two points above the league’s relegation zone, Ujah, who reportedly signed a €5.6m-a year-deal with the Tigers, doesn’t want to play in the second-tier of the Chinese football and is looking to dump Liaoning.
Reports in the German media on Monday said Hannover boss Breiterreiter had redoubled his efforts to push Ujah’s deal over the line – and had exerted pressure on Liaoning to release the Nigerian.
The Reds’ sporting director Horst Heldt, who expressed his confidence that Ujah will move to the HDI-Arena this summer, told the influential German sports magazine Kicker that the club would win the battle.
“The manager is still working intensively on the transfer. Let’s see if it works, we need patience,” the former Stuttgart midfielder was quoted as saying by Kicker.
Meanwhile, Manchester City star Kelechi Iheanacho was omitted from the squad who travelled to the United States on Monday for their pre-season tour.
The Citizens manager Pep Guardiola surprisingly including Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala, Gael Clichy and Jason Denayer, who have been declared surplus to requirements, shunning Nigeria striker Iheanacho and Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Bony.
His omission from the pre-season tour may have confirmed that Iheanacho will leave the Etihad Stadium this summer.
The 20-year-old fell out of favour under Guardiola during the second half of last season, following the arrival of rising star Gabriel Jesus.
Iheanacho has been linked with a £25m to Leicester City, while Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim are also said to be interested in the UAE FIFA Under-17 World Cup Golden Ball winner.