A deadline day signing is to boost Royals attacking strikeforce as the club announces a brand-new Number 20 – and should be eligible for selection for this Saturday’s key game against Wolves.
Goalscorer Yakubu Aiyegbeni has joined Steve Clarke’s Royals squad until the end of the season, having previously played at Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn. He sealed the deal at Royals’ Hogwood Park training ground this afternoon.
Manager Steve Clarke is full of praise for his new addition.
He said: “Yakubu brings a fantastic scoring record to this club and his addition will complement the strikers we’ve already got at Reading and help us to improve as a team in latter stages of the season.
“I know all about him as a player and I have heard very good reports about him as a personality in the dressing room. He is no-risk signing for us and I look forward to him scoring a few goals for Reading Football Club.”
The 32-year-old Nigerian international has a wealth of top flight, European and international experience.
The 6ft striker stands behind only Didier Drogba in the list of all-time highest African goalscorers in Premier League history – level with Emmanuel Adebayor on 96 top flight goals, and he has represented Nigeria in no fewer than four African Cup of Nations competitions as well as a World Cup Finals tournament in 2010.
Yakubu first burst onto the scene in Israel with Maccabi Haifa, scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut in a 3-0 win over Olympiakos in September 2002 before finding the target against Manchester United a month later.
That same season, the striker moved to England with Portsmouth – playing alongside former Royals ace Linvoy Primus.
Having opened his account only four minutes into his first Pompey start he won the second tier title at the end of his maiden campaign at Fratton Park.
He went on to score 16 Premier League goals for Portsmouth in 2003-4, the same return as Michael Owen and Nicolas Anelka that season, and his record in front of goal remained prolific throughout a career which saw him represent three other clubs in the top tier.
Yakubu scored 35 goals in two seasons at Middlesbrough and fired 33 more in just 74 starts for Everton, before recording his best Premier League return of 17 strikes whilst with Blackburn Rovers in 2011-12.
He has four Premier League hat-tricks to his name.
He scored his last Premier League goal in his final appearance for Rovers at Stamford Bridge in May 2012, before completing a move to Chinese side Guangzhou where he scored on his Super League debut.
A short spell with Al Rayyan in Qatar recently came to an end, prompting the Royals to act fast and swoop for his signature.
Internationally, he was part of Nigeria’s squad for the Olympic Games out in Sydney in 2000, as a burgeoning young 17-year-old striker, and he went on to become the Nigerian national team’s third highest all-time scorer with 21 goals scored in little more than 50 appearances for his country.
Yakubu will be eligible to make his Reading debut in this weekend’s Championship clash at Wolves, subject to international clearance and the normal ratification procedures from the relevant football authorities.