By Sulayman Bah
Lamin Village-born Omar Colley has sparked a transfer tug-of-war among Europe elite clubs after making public his willingness to leave KRC Genk of Belgium.
Colley is something of a hot-cake in the football transfer market and current employers Genk have been digging their heels over entertaining talks of selling the star defender.
The Belgians have long played the wait-and-see tactic often making astronomical demands to suitors of the Gambian, causing Italian giants Sampdoria’s attempt to sign the centre-back last season to hit the buffers.
Not willing to be deterred in their relentless pursuit, Sampdoria have come back again and hope to lure the Scorpion away though they’re for €4m euros short of matching Genk’s €10m valuation of Colley.
The Italians are a big side and aware they could milk more from any sale, Genk have insisted on not budging.
KRC stand to rake in millions in profits if a deal is sanctioned considering the paltry €1.7m euros they forked out in acquiring Colley from Swedish club Djurgarden IF in 2016.
However, the saga could take a new twist after Colley made public his intentions to leave Genk.
The Gambia international has a year-and-half more to run down his contract after refusing to activate the 24-month option in his deal and the announcement to leave applies pressure on Genk to accept an offer.
‘I feel ready to take the next step (to leave), no need to go around it. I have the ambition to start a new adventure in a more competitive championship: England, Germany and Italy are my favorite destinations,’ Colley said in the aftermath of the duel against Zulte-Waregem.
While this represents good news to Sampdoria who appears to be at front amongst teams queuing for the defender’s services, they could be in for an unexpected surprise with English clubs Watford Everton, Southampton all at one point ardent on signing their transfer-target.
The situation has triggered a huge bidding war which could see Colley head out of the exit with the English Premier League reported to be his preferred destination.
Most expensive Gambian player
No Gambian player in history has been purchased for sums beyond €4m in a given transfer window and Colley looks on the verge of setting a new benchmark.
Departing Djurgarden for Genk barely two years ago made Omar Gambia’s most expensive player ahead of Mustapha Carayol and Modou Barrow who are valued at £675,000 and €3m respectively.
With Genk demanding a whopping €10m, Colley will be in line of setting yet another record lucrative move.
It was divulged last week that a couple of Genk in-demand players have shunned renewed contract offers in anticipation of an exit. It’s now confirmed former Wallidan man Colley is one of those rebelling against signing a new deal proposal.
A player voicing willingness to leave could incite a backlash from fans. However, Omar is a revered figure at Genk and fans seem to ready to see the back of him.