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Monday, October 2, 2023

Nicolas Jackson’s meteoric rise from Gambia to Stamford Bridge

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Elijah Odetokun

Chelsea’s new striker Nicolas Jackson was born in Gambia but represents Senegal internationally. He has won three caps for the 2021 African Champions, debuting at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar against the Netherlands.

Jackson had quite a rough road to fame before hitting the limelight in Spain and eventually making it to the Premier League with the Blues.

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He was announced as a new Chelsea player on Sunday after weeks of speculation regarding the transfer, which the English club triggered after paying Villarreal’s exit clause in the region of £30m.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout season with the Yellow Submarines. He hit 12 goals and provided four assists despite missing most of the first half of the season through injury.

The club’s official statement confirmed he signed an eight-year contract that will keep him in England till 2031. The lengthy contract has become a trademark since Todd Boehly and co took over the club.

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He began his youth football with Tilene, a local club in Senegal, but he did not show his potential until he joined the top-flight club Casa Sport, from where he moved to Europe.

Sports News Africa noted that Jackson, nicknamed Neymar at Tilene, encountered challenges from those who felt he was not good enough but had the faith of Badara Sarr, who drafted him into the senior team at Casa.

However, his skills – quick feet and dribbling ability won over the fans to his side, and Sarr, who had kept faith in him, is not surprised to see him reach the current heights he is now.

He has big boots to fill at Stamford Bridge as the club haven’t had a striker score a lot of goals since the days of his idol Didier Drogba and Diego Costa, who also came to the Premier League from Spain.

Jackson identifies this and, in his unveiling video, said, “I feel I’m gonna do amasing things here.”

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