The next Odion Ighalo? Watford take Nigerian striker on trial

After turning Odion Ighalo into a multi-million pound asset coveted by the top clubs in the Premier League, Watford have given another Nigerian striker the chance to shine at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets have given Ola Adeyemo, a strapping forward who turned 21 on Friday, the opportunity to earn a contract and he did his cause no harm at all by scoring the opening goal in the Under-21’s 3-2 friendly win over Reading on Tuesday.

Adeyemo played as the lone striker for Harry Kewell’s side and converted an appetising cross from Bernard Mensah with a firm header. He played for just under an hour of the game at Hogwood Park before being replaced by Mahlondo Martin. Adeyemo is friends with Uche Ikpeazu, the striker who is also the son of Nigerian parents.


Born in London, Adeyemo was released by Dundee United last month after making just two first-team appearances since signing from Irish outfit UCD 18 months ago. A former trainee at Leyton Orient, Adeyemo also spent a brief loan spell at East Fife and has been called up to the Nigeria Under-23 squad.

“The NFF keep dossiers on players eligible to play for Nigeria and I am proud to tell you that we have recently discovered a young lad named Ola Adeyemo who plays as a striker with SPL side Dundee United,” reported two years ago, citing a source close to the NFF Technical Committee. “We learnt he has been scoring goals for the Dundee United Under-20 team and did well for the first team recently when he made his competitive debut. It is not an easy feat to break into a team like Dundee United. He has Nigerian blood as both his parents are Nigerians, though he was born in London. He has an Irish passport and knowing his eligibility and of course willingness to play for Nigeria is the only thing keeping his invitation to play for Nigeria.”


Former West Ham United forward Jerry Amoo, ex Reading winger Germaine Ofori, one time Southend striker Ellis Brown, Romanian winger Ronaldo Deaconu and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Laste Dombaxe have all had unsuccessful trial spells at Watford this season. Fran Montavez, the midfielder who came through the ranks at Real Madrid, did manage to earn a contract until the end of the season but the offer was rescinded after the club experienced difficulty in registering him outside of the transfer window.