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Striker seals bargain £11m deal as Wolves and Everton ignore chance to sign him

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Lyon have completed a bargain £11 million deal for Gent striker Gift Orban after Aston Villa, West Ham United, Everton and Wolves all ignored the chance to bring the Nigerian to the Premier League.

 

HITC Football understands that, before officially being confirmed as a Lyon player on Thursday afternoon, a host of clubs from the other side of the Channel had been made aware of the free-scoring forward’s availability.

 

HITC has been informed that Aston Villa, West Ham United, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers were all briefed by intermediaries. Ditto Brentford, Fulham and Crystal Palace.

 

None of the aforementioned septet were willing to hi-jack Lyon’s pursuit, however, meaning one of the most hotly-tipped young strikers in Europe crosses the border from Belgium into France for an initial fee of just £11 million (Fabrizio Romano).

 

SOCCER CONF QUALIF KAA GENT VS POGON

Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

 

Gift Orban leaves Gent for Lyon

Given how prolific Gift Orban had been at times with Gent, it may come as a surprise to see a struggling Lyon outfit complete a deal for such a lowly initial sum.

Especially after Michael Louwagie – Gent’s CEO – insisted a few months earlier that a goalscorer of Orban’s potential should be going for a fee closer to £25 million in today’s market.

 

Perhaps there were concerns, however, that Orban’s remarkable impact at the Ghelamco Arena was something of a flash in the pan.

He scored 20 goals in his first 22 games for Gent in the second half of 2022/23. There been five hat-tricks over the last 12 months too. More than Erling Haaland managed in the same timeframe.

 

In the first half of this season, however, Orban has found the net at a far less reliable rate, scoring only three times in 15 Jupiler League appearances.

 

He’s been less ‘explosive‘ recently, and more ineffective.

 

More hat-tricks than Erling Haaland in 2023

Maybe Aston Villa, Wolves and co were wary of taking a punt on a striker as-yet unproven in a major European league, especially considering how wildly his form has oscillated in Belgium.

Furthermore, a host of high-profile Jupiler League exports have struggled to live up to expectations in England. Particularly Paul Onuachu at Southampton, and the former Aston Villa duo Mbwana Samatta and Wesley.

 

According to reports, Tottenham had considered Orban as an option to replace Harry Kane following his big-money move to Bayern Munich, but called off talks late in the window.

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