Loan watch: Kenneth Omeruo signs extension, goes on loan to Alanyaspor
After little movement all summer, Chelsea finally sorted out its Kenneth Omeruo situation. No one will think less of you if you didn’t know there was a Kenneth Omeruo situation.
Kenneth Omeruo signed a contract extension that will keep him at Chelsea until 2019. Chelsea being Chelsea, before the ink dried they handed Omeruo a loan to Turkish club Alanyaspor.
Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of the move, Omeruo claims that he wants to settle into his fourth loan quickly and play football regularly.
The focus right now is to play regularly and establish myself here.I know what to expect joining a team with big ambitions – it means the bar has been raised even higher.
My desire is to prove myself a worthy addition to Alanyaspor, make a significant contribution in all competitions and take it from there. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but everybody wants to be settled at a place and play regularly – I am no different. – BBC
Chelsea signed Omeruo in January 2012, on the back of his performances for Nigeria at the 2011 U-20 World Cup. The club promptly loaned him to ADO Den Haag for 18 months. He did well in the Eredivisie and in 2013 was called up to the senior national team to play in the African Cup of Nations. He played all the matches for the Super Eagles as they went on to claim the trophy.
Omeruo was a key part of the national team setup under Stephen Keshi. He was involved in all of Nigeria’s games in the 2013 FIFA Federations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He earned plaudits for his mature performances in both tournaments. His international high point came when Nigeria kept a clean sheet vs Luis Suarez’s Uruguay in the group stages of the Federations Cup.
Omeruo sustained an injury and needed surgery after the 2013 Federations Cup, keeping him out of action until October of 2013.
Chelsea loaned Omeruo to Middlesbrough in January of 2014, where he enjoyed a very good half-season. He followed up with strong performances for Nigeria at the World Cup. He built a reputation as a determined and talented youngster who had impressed then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Following the sale of David Luiz, Omeruo looked ready to ascend to Chelsea’s first team.
In typical Chelsea fashion, however, he signed a contract extension and went straight back to Middlesbrough alongside fellow loanees Tomas Kalas and Patrick Bamford. His second spell was less than fruitful after falling out with manager Aitor Karanka.
- 8/31 – Loan watch: Kenneth Omeruo signs extension, goes on loan to Alanyaspor
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Omeruo went from the fast track to Chelsea’s first team to rotting on the bench for Middlesbrough. Meanwhile, Chelsea signed Kurt Zouma, who became a Mourinho favorite straight away and displaced Omeruo in the short- and medium-term.
In the summer of 2015 Omeruo joined Turkish club Kasimpasa on loan with an option to buy. Although he had a few injury issues, he played when available. A lack of funds precluded Kasimpasa from converting the loan into a permanent transfer.
Omeruo’s wages interfered with a move to Spanish and Turkish clubs over the last two summers, despite rumours of interest. He was reportedly unwilling to join Celta Vigo, Real Betis or Espanyol on half wages. His move to Turkish giants Besiktas fell through for the same reason.
At age 22, Kenneth Omeruo remains a promising prospect. The Chelsea hierarchy evidently agrees, as they awarded him another contract extension this summer. His power, athleticism and work rate mean that he can play both as a right-back and a center-back. He prefers to keep the ball on the ground and pass it to feet. In essence he fulfills all the criteria required of a modern defender.
At the moment, Omeruo seems like someone who has failed to deliver on early promise. Hopefully yet another loan will be an opportunity to re-establish himself as one of the best young centre backs around.
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