Ivica Iliev is responsible for the notable signings of Everton Luiz, Leonardo, and Seydouba Soumah, but the former Partizan executive is more impressed with his connection to Umar Sadiq’s move to Serbia
Former Partizan Belgrade sporting director Ivica Iliev has expressed his admiration for prolific Nigerian striker Umar Sadiq.
Iliev has lauded Sadiq as one of the most successful transfers in Partizan’s history while hailing his role in the signing of the Nigerian for the Serbian giants.
After bursting to prominence as an exciting youngster at AS Roma and spending time on loan at Bologna, Torino, and NEC Breda, Sadiq’s profile declined following a failed loan move at Scottish side Rangers.
He was tagged a flop after making just one league appearance and failing to impress then-Gers boss Steven Gerrard.
But Partizan took a gamble on Sadiq in 2019, signing him first on a temporary deal and making his stay permanent in 2020 after a string of excellent performances in Serbia and the continent.
The former Nigeria U23 striker joined Almeria last year and has developed into the most valuable player in the Spanish Segunda Division.
Some of Europe’s most significant clubs, including Bayern Munich and Manchester City, have even been credited with an interest in the 2016 Olympics bronze medalist.
Iliev, a Partizan director between 2015 and 2019, has watched with satisfaction how Sadiq has flipped the switch from being tagged a flop to being chased by the continent’s finest.
And the former Energie Cottbus forward has applauded the Nigerian’s character in the face of criticism.
“I follow Sadiq because we can have many benefits from his good games,” Iliev told Meridian sport as per the Republika.
“I am proud of that transfer and that I brought it. He is the first foreigner who can go to a high level of European football.”
“His character is great, even though he had bugs. We had no problems, a really calm and quality guy. Everything that was written about him was with bad intentions.”
Sadiq, who banged in 20 league goals last term, has hit seven goals to power Almeria to the top of the Segunda Division, six points ahead of second-place Eibar after 15 rounds of matches.