Nigerian-born striker Ike Ugbo climbed off the bench to net the winner as Chelsea came from a goal down to win their first friendly of preseason, beating AFC Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday.
Ugbo was named as a substitute, but the European champions’ attack failed to find the back of the net in a scoreless first half, as manager Thomas Tuchel then made seven changes at the interval.
It was Emiliano Marcondes who broke the deadlock on 66 minutes, converting a header to put the Cherries out front, but the lead wouldn’t last.
Nineteen-year-old striker Armando Broja — who signed a new five-year contract with the West London club earlier this month — leveled the score in the 77th minute by converting a Davide Zappacosta cross, before 22-year-old counterpart Ugbo headed home Ross Barkley’s service to earn Chelsea the friendly win.
It will be recalled that Ugbo has agreed personal terms with Belgian side K.R.C. Genk ahead of a permanent move away from London.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Cercle Brugge, netting 16 goals in 32 appearances.
As per Fabrizio Romano, the Nigerian-born striker has agreed personal terms with Genk, who have been leading the race for his signature.
Turkish side Besiktas and Eredevise duo Feyenoord and PSV have also approached Chelsea to sign the forward but Genk are confident in completing the deal
Fulham have shown interest in Ugbo but are set to miss out on the forward.
Ugbo began his career with Chelsea at under-10 level and turned professional for the club back in 2015.
Since then, the striker has had five spells away from Chelsea. First came a loan spell at Barnsley in 2017/18, where he made 16 appearances and netted on one occassion.
Ugbo found success in the Dutch second divisiion at Roda JC in 2019/20, where he made 28 appearances and scored 13 times.
Last season was the 22-year-old’s most successful and has attracted the interest of fellow Belgian side Genk whilst on loan at Cercle Brugge.
Chelsea are clearing out many of their loan players and academy graduates this summer before Thomas Tuchel looks to add to his Champions League winning squad ahead of a title challenge next season.