‘Well behaved, but football is about performing’ – Real Sociedad boss gives Sadiq report card

Real Sociedad manager,Imanol Alguacil, has offered a candid assessment of Umar Sadiq's season, highlighting the Nigerian striker's commitment and the challenges he has faced since arriving at the club.

Sadiq's tenure at Real Sociedad has been plagued by disappointment since his €20 million transfer from Almeria in 2022. His contract with the San Sebastian outfit ends in 2028.

Shortly after his debut season began, he sustained a cruciate ligament injury, sidelining him for the entire campaign and causing him to miss 45 games.

Despite this major setback, Sadiq returned to action last summer and was reintegrated into the team.

However, the 27-year-old forward is still striving to regain his top form, having only started in 12 out of his 26 appearances for Real Sociedad this season. Sadiq has contributed three goals and provided one assist for the Txuri-Urdin.

With just three goals and one assist to his name, he slipped down the pecking order, with Mikel Oyarzabal and Sheraldo Becker receiving more playing time at centre-forward.

Despite a mixed campaign, marked by both highs and lows, Sadiq has earned praise for his dedication and professionalism, even in the face of technical and tactical decisions that have limited his playing time.

Umar Sadiq: 'Well behaved, but football is about performing' – Real Sociedad boss gives report card
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As the season progressed, Alguacil noted Sadiq's efforts to adapt and improve, particularly after returning from injury, stressing his belief in the player's continued development.

Manager's praise for Umar Sadiq's commitment and professionalism

In his press conference following Real Sociedad's final game of the season against Atletico Madrid, per Futbol Fantasy, Alguacil reflected on Sadiq's contributions, stating his appreciation for the player's attitude and effort: “The only thing I can thank him for is his commitment, for how he has behaved since he arrived, whether he has been more or less fortunate.

“There has not been any bad gesture, he has always wanted to contribute and, when he has not done it, it has been a technical-tactical decision. He has respected it, he has continued training until the end, being one more. That's why I say, I can't ask for more from these types of players.

“He gives his all, this is football and it's about performing, getting it right. But hey, the main thing and the basic thing, for me, is to give it your all, give it your all and be respectful. In Sadiq's case, I can't say anything bad about him.”

Umar Sadiq: 'Well behaved, but football is about performing' – Real Sociedad boss gives report card
Photo by Icon Sport

The manager also acknowledged the challenges Sadiq faced after returning from injury: “It is clear that players who have had this injury, well, suffer a lot when it comes to returning and getting back into the rhythm. There is no doubt that Sadiq, also being as big as he is, has probably had a harder time.

“However, I think that this season there have also been games in which I have said that, although he has not been successful in front of the goal, he has done good things. That is why I say that, when a player gives himself as he has done. I can't speak badly about him. Obviously, as time goes by, he's going to improve, that's clear.”

Could Alguacil's statement about Sadiq suggest a Sociedad exit for the Nigerian?

In recent weeks, speculation has been mounting around Umar Sadiq's future at Real Sociedad, with potential moves to Almería and Getafe being discussed.

These rumours surfaced before Alguacil's comments on Sadiq's commitment and professionalism, which, while laudatory, may still hint at an uncertain future for the Nigerian striker at the club.

Getafe, who have been linked with Sadiq, are in a precarious position with their forward line. They lost Enes Unal to Bournemouth this season, Borja Mayoral is recovering from surgery, and Jaime Mata, at 35, is nearing the end of his career. This leaves Getafe in urgent need of reinforcements up front, making Sadiq an attractive target.

Almería, where Sadiq previously enjoyed a prolific spell, scoring 43 goals and providing 19 assists in 84 games, is another club reportedly interested in bringing him back.

His remarkable performance there made him the most expensive signing in Real Sociedad’s history, as they saw him as the ideal replacement for Alexander Isak.

Despite these links, Sadiq's current contract with Real Sociedad runs until June 2028. This long-term commitment could make a transfer complex, but the market dynamics and interest from other clubs suggest a loan move is not out of the question.

Alguacil’s recent statements highlight Sadiq's dedication and positive attitude, even as he has struggled with form and injuries. The manager noted, “The only thing I can thank him for is his commitment, for how he has behaved since he arrived, whether he has been more or less fortunate. There has not been any bad gesture, he has always wanted to contribute… That’s why I say, I can't ask for more from these types of players… I can't say anything bad about him.”

Umar Sadiq: 'Well behaved, but football is about performing' – Real Sociedad boss gives report card
Photo by Icon Sport

However, the acknowledgment of Sadiq's challenges in regaining form post-injury might imply that Real Sociedad is considering their options. Alguacil added, “It is clear that players who have had this injury, well, suffer a lot when it comes to returning and getting back into the rhythm… I think that this season there have also been games in which I have said that, although he has not been successful in front of the goal, he has done good things.”

With these statements, Alguacil seems to be diplomatically addressing Sadiq's current position and future at the club.

Whether this means Real Sociedad is preparing for Sadiq's exit remains to be seen, but the interest from Almería and Getafe suggests that his tenure at Sociedad could be approaching a turning point.

As the transfer window approaches, the situation will likely become clearer, but for now, Sadiq’s future hangs in the balance, with his manager’s words leaving room for interpretation.

Why Umar Sadiq must regain his form to dream of returning to the Super Eagles setup

Sadiq's omission from Finidi George's list for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin has raised questions about his future with the Super Eagles.

Despite being a part of the squad for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), a purported injury saw him leave the camp prematurely. This exit caused a stir among Nigerian fans when days later, Sadiq was seen training with his Spanish club.

Sadiq's international career, though promising, has been marked by inconsistency. With 10 appearances and just one goal for the Super Eagles, his impact on the national team has been limited.

His club form has also been a cause for concern. This season, Sadiq has managed only 12 starts in 26 appearances, with limited minutes on the pitch.

This lack of regular playing time and form is a significant hurdle in convincing George of his readiness to compete at the international level.

To rekindle his Super Eagles dreams, Sadiq must focus on regaining his form and consistency at the club level.

Umar Sadiq: 'Well behaved, but football is about performing' – Real Sociedad boss gives report card
Photo by Icon Sport

Real Sociedad manager Alguacil's recent comments, praising Sadiq's commitment and professionalism despite his challenges, indicate that the player has the right attitude. However, translating this attitude into consistent performances on the pitch is crucial.

Sadiq needs to demonstrate his predatory instincts and ability to influence games positively, something he showed glimpses of during his time at Almería.

At Almería, he was a prolific scorer with 43 goals and 19 assists in 84 games, a record that earned him the move to Real Sociedad. Rediscovering this form will be key to his chances of returning to the Super Eagles setup.

With the World Cup qualifiers in mind, George will be looking for players who are not only talented but also in top form and playing regularly at their clubs.

For Sadiq, the path back to the national team starts with improving his performances in La Liga, proving his fitness, and showing that he can be relied upon to deliver when it matters most.

Sadiq's dream of returning to the Super Eagles hinges on his ability to regain form and secure more playing time at Real Sociedad.

Only then can he hope to be in contention for future call-ups and play a vital role in Nigeria's international campaigns.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.