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Royals sign striker Yakubu

2 February 2015

Nigerian forward seals Madejski Stadium deal

Reading Football Club are delighted to announce the deadline day signing of experienced striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who joins Steve Clarke’s Royals until the end of the season.

Having put pen to paper down at the Royals’ Hogwood Park training ground this afternoon, the former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn frontman will take squad number 20 at Reading.

Manager Steve Clarke said, “An experienced goalscorer, Yakubu brings a fantastic scoring record to this club and his addition will complement the strikers we’ve already got at Reading and help us to improve as a team in latter stages of the season.

“I know all about him as a player and I have heard very good reports about him as a personality in the dressing room. He is no-risk signing for us and I look forward to him scoring goals for Reading Football Club.”

The 32-year-old Nigerian international undoubtedly brings a wealth of top flight, European and international experience to the Royals’ ranks as well as a proven track record in front of goal at the very highest level.

The six foot striker stands behind only Didier Drogba in the list of all-time highest African goalscorers in Premier League history, level with Emmanuel Adebayor on 96 top flight goals, and he has represented Nigeria in no fewer than four African Cup of Nations competitions as well as a World Cup Finals tournament in 2010.

Yakubu first burst onto the scene in Israel with Maccabi Haifa, scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut in a 3-0 win over Olympiakos in September 2002 before finding the target against Manchester United a month later.

That same season, the striker moved to England with Portsmouth and, having opened his account only four minutes into his first Pompey start, he won the second tier title at the end of his maiden campaign at Fratton Park.

He went on to score 16 Premier League goals for Portsmouth in 2003-4, the same return as Michael Owen and Nicolas Anelka that season, and his record in front of goal remained prolific throughout a career which saw him represent three other clubs in the top tier.

Yakubu scored 35 goals during two seasons at Middlesbrough and fired 33 more in just 74 starts for Everton, before recording his best Premier League return of 17 strikes whilst with Blackburn Rovers in 2011-12. He has four Premier League hat-tricks to his name.

He scored his last Premier League goal in his final appearance for Rovers at Stamford Bridge in May 2012, before completing a move to Chinese side Guangzhou where he scored on his Super League debut. A short spell with Al Rayyan in Qatar recently came to an end, prompting the Royals to act fast and swoop for his signature.

Internationally, he was part of Nigeria’s squad for the Olympic Games out in Sydney in 2000, as a burgeoning young 17-year-old striker, and he went on to become the Nigerian national team’s third highest all-time scorer with 21 goals scored in little more than 50 appearances for his country.

Yakubu will be eligible to make his Reading debut in this weekend’s Championship clash at Wolves, subject to international clearance and the normal ratification procedures from the relevant football authorities.

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