Once considered a bright talent of the future, Umar Sadiq has had to rebuild his reputation after a hugely underwhelming loan spell with Rangers.
But this is exactly what he has been doing - and naturally, with the summer transfer window fast approaching, he has been linked with a move away.
It's pretty much just how it goes, isn't it?
Telegraf report that Milan, Valencia, Fenerbahce, CSKA and Spartak Moscow have all shown an interest in the attacker, while from the Premier League, Manchester United are also keen. The report claims that Budimir Vujacic, United's scout for that area of Europe, was set to attend Partizan's derby clash with Red Star last Wednesday - with Partizan winning the game 1-0.
The Sun have since reported Sadiq is now being 'lined up' for a 'dream' move to Old Trafford. Whether United's interest in the attacker is actually so strong that they are preparing to make a move remains to be seen, but it is clear that the 23-year-old is attracting attention.
So, we take a look at six key things to know about Sadiq...
So, How Did He Do With Scouts in Attendance?
The obvious place to start would be to take a closer look at his performance against Red Star on Wednesday, with numerous scouts in attendance.
While the Nigerian didn't get himself on the scoresheet, he played a crucial role in the only goal of the game. Receiving the ball out wide, Sadiq raced into the area before two Red Star players looked to prevent him from going any further. However, he produced an exquisite piece of skill to sit one defender down on the floor.
Working a yard of space for himself, Sadiq showed the composure to then look up and play the ball across to Bibras Natcho to fire home.
It was a game of fine margins, but it was Sadiq's moment of brilliance that helped ensure his side progressed to the final of the Serbian Cup.
Oh, did we also mention that along with the scouts, around 25,000 fans were also in attendance at the game despite the current coronavirus pandemic. No? Oh, well yeah...
A Loan Spell to Forget at Rangers
You would be forgiven for not remembering too much about Sadiq's loan spell at Rangers. In short, it was very, very unsuccessful.
Joining in July 2018, there was a hope that Sadiq would challenge first choice striker Alfredo Morelos for a starting berth, but this didn't prove to be the case. Instead, he managed just four first-team appearances before his loan was terminated in December that year - with just one appearance coming from the start.
As it turned out, Sadiq made the headlines for Rangers after the game in which he started against Aberdeen - but for all the wrong reasons. With his side 1-0 down in the cup, Sadiq was sent through on goal and he took the ball around the goalkeeper.
The hard part was done, but he opted to hit the deck instead of finishing off the move. To make matters worse, he was booked for diving.
It was a performance that didn't go down too well with Rangers fans, with many at the time keen for him not to put on the jersey again.
Umar Sadiq is Nigeria's highest goal contributor in Europe in the 2019-2020 season, with a hand in 33 goals (17 goals, 16 assists) from 38 appearances in all competitions pic.twitter.com/yfM0Xj1rJ9— Ola (@Maitre_Dapo) June 12, 2020
In January 2018, Sadiq joined Serie B side Perugia as he looked to get his career back on track. Still contracted to Roma at this point, it was a chance for the Nigerian to prove to his parent club that he had what it took. However, he managed just three goals in 18 appearances.
As a result, he was shipped out on loan again in the summer of 2019 - this time to Partizan. Following a bright start to life in his new home, Partizan opted to make the move permanent in January for around €1.75m.
The 23-year-old has gone on to make 38 appearances in all competitions for the Black and Whites, grabbing 17 goals in this time. But equally, Sadiq has contributed a further 16 assists, underlining his creativity as a forward.
He has managed four goals and two assists in the Europa League this campaign as well - although he was unable to make an impact against Man Utd when the two sides played. It is the sort of form few expected from the attacker, especially so soon. But this has - of course - now led to much speculation about his future.
Standing at 192cm, Sadiq is a tall and powerful striker, making him a nightmare to go up against. The Nigerian also knows his best attributes and knows how to utilise his height and strength to win aerial duels and hold the ball up for his teammates.
But as can be seen by his statistics, his game has evolved over the years, which is impressive in a number of ways. Equally capable of producing a moment of magic (as seen by his assist against Red Star) as he is ruthlessly lashing home in front of goal, Sadiq is now a more complete striker than he was even six months ago.
He isn't perfect, not by any means, but he is continuing to improve rapidly. His height, agility, finishing and strength have been key to his fine form this season.
Rio Olympics Bronze Medalist
At the 2016 Olympic Games, Sadiq was a key member of the Nigeria squad that won a bronze medal. The forward appeared in each of his nation's six games, grabbing four goals; this included a brace in the third-place play-off against Honduras to help Nigeria win 3-2.
Umar's exploits at the Olympic Games came while he was still playing for Roma, and his achievement meant that he was the first player to win an Olympic medal while playing for the Italian outfit since Daniele De Rossi in 2004.
Not bad going, Umar.
Of course, the summer transfer window will not be the same when it opens as teams have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus. As a result, this could make a deal for Sadiq even more enticing.
Considering his form after joining Partizan for just €1.75m, the club will look to make a healthy profit on him if they were to consider parting ways with him. Turkish outlet Blic (via Goal) report that Besiktas have stepped up their efforts to sign the forward, but Partizan are demanding no less than €15m.
It is even said that a bid of €10m from Qatar has already come in for Sadiq, but this has been turned down. Elsewhere, further reports claim that interest in the player is continuing to rise, with both Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach also entering the race for his signature.
Nonetheless, at €15m, Sadiq could prove to be a shrewd addition for a number of clubs - especially at a time when teams will be looking for cheaper deals.
Source : 90min