Kenneth Omeruo, in what seems like a previous lifetime in the summer of 2013, was seemingly within touching distance of a Chelsea squad spot. He impressed in the Netherlands that previous season at ADO Den Haag (winning their Player of the Year award) and he impressed in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in the winter as Nigeria won the tournament, and then did the same at the 2013 Confederations Cup in the summer.
And then he dislocated his shoulder, delayed his surgery, and not even a good showing at the 2014 World Cup could get him back to being as close as he was in that first summer of Mourinho Mk.2.
Since then, Omeruo’s travels had taken him to ever more exotic locations, spending the last three seasons at two different Turkish clubs, two stints at Kasımpaşa sandwiching a year at Alanyaspor after the former passed on a buy-option — due to lack of funds rather than performance concerns from the youngster who’s now racked up over 150 professional appearance since signing with Chelsea, but 0 for Chelsea themselves.
And while he still would love to get just one chance to wear the Blue shirt, he’s happy to be back in a more visible league, having joined Leganés in La Liga for his seventh loan.
“I’ve been playing away from England in Turkey for a while and every time I always craved for a visible league where people can watch me. Luckily, after the World Cup where I had two good games, I got more options and I chose La Liga where everyone can watch me, and so far it’s been a perfect decision for me.”
Omeruo has only played two games so far, but he’s been hindered by a work permit issue, which has now been resolved. Leganés did not lose either of the two games he started, which included the season’s first clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano and a credible 1-1 draw away at Michy Batshuayi’s Valencia.
“Right now I’m fulfilling my dream of playing in La Liga, it’s amazing and different. Leganes have an option to sign me permanently and I would like to give everything to stay in the league. I’ve played in the English championship, I’ve gotten a feel of that but La Liga is very good.
”If I end up playing for Chelsea someday fine, because it is one of the biggest teams in the world and they have the highest fan base in Nigeria. I would love to play for them, even if it’s just a game, but right now I am very happy with my life here in Spain.”
-Kenneth Omeruo; source: BBC
Sadly, the Chelsea ship probably set sail a long time ago. But if Leganés do manage to stay up, perhaps they will continue to fulfil Omeruo’s Spanish dream.