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From Chelsea to Genk - Ike Ugbo: Why I rejected Marseille

Former Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo has explained why he chose KRC Genk ahead of Olympique Marseille this past summer.

Ugbo left Chelsea this summer after an outstanding loan with Cercle Brugge last season, signing for KRC Genk in a €3.5m deal.

The centre-forward spent the campaign with Cercle, where he scored 17 goals in 34 games and also produced one assist.

His impact in the Jupiler League brought him to the attention of KRC Genk, which made sure to bring him back to Belgium in a permanent deal. Ugbo also had an offer from Olympique Marseille, but explained he chose Genk believing it will be a better platform for him at this stage in his career.

Via Foot Mercato, he told Sport/Foot Magazine: "The young Ugbo might have opted for Marseille: a big club, in the south of France, near the family (who lives in Nice). The prospect of playing against Lionel Messi (at PSG) ... But today's Ugbo thinks that might have been a mistake.

"After Cercle, Genk seems to me to be the ideal step to take a further step.

"Why Genk? Mainly because of the players who have made their mark here in the past. When I see where they've ended up ... When you're young, you don't pay too much attention to that sort of thing, otherwise I would have come sooner. I spoke with the club at the end of last season and they had a great project for me.

"Other teams came forward, but I felt I could find what I needed here at this point in my career. It was the project that won me over. I'm not yet at the level where I can consider winning the Champions League, or playing a major role elsewhere. I have to be smarter in my choices."

At Chelsea, Ugbo had a contract to 2022, having penned a new deal last year. The 22 year-old never made his first team debut with the Blues. But he has spent time away on-loan with five clubs: Cercle Brugge, Roda JC, Barnsley, Milton Keynes Dons and Scunthorpe United.


- updated September 14


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