Obbi Oulare has been given the chance to resuscitate his career by returning to Belgium on loan – less than a year after joining Watford in a fee some have as high as £7m.
Oulare has cut a frustrated figure around the camp after seeing his dream move to the Premier League yield just one start and a total of five minutes of league action. He was earmarked for a role against West Ham United in the dead rubber at Upton Park but he injured his hamstring after ending a spell of inactivity with two under-21 games in the space of a week. He was then part of the squad for the final away game of the season, at Norwich City, but sat in the stand when there was nothing riding on the game for the Hornets. He lost his place in Belgium’s Under-21 side due to his lack of game time.
Signed from under the nose of Queens Park Rangers, he has only featured in one of the four pre-season games so far, making it pretty clear he is not part of Walter Mazzarri’s short-term plans. And even though the 20-year-old would not take up a place in the Premier League squad, as he can be named as one of unlimited under-21 players, the club have decided it’s best he gets a season of football under his belt at SV Zulte Waregem. They finished sixth last season in Belgium’s top division, 21 points behind winners Club Brugge, Oulare’s old club.
Oulare is also set to become a father for the first time, with his wife Zina due to give birth shortly.
Oulare will be hoping he receives more contact from the club while in Belgium than Uche Ikpeazu did during his various loan spells.
“I tried to contact them several times, to find out what was going on, but [sporting director] Luke Dowling completely ignored me,” Ikpeazu told us in an exclusive interview. “Several times when I came back from loans I asked him [Dowling] for a meeting and he said he didn’t know [what was happening]. He’s the only one who’s there that you can contact, really. They’ve never come to one of my games to see how I was doing on loan. I was out there by myself, even when I was doing well. It was like they were waiting for me to not do very well.”