One to Watch - Yakubu
Name: Yakubu Aiyegbeni
Date of Birth: 22/11/1982
Former Clubs: Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Kfar Saba, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester
League Appearances (Goals): 366 (155)
International Appearances (Goals): 57 (21)
Stat of the Day: After his four goals against Manchester United earlier this season, Yakubu became only the second player to score four goals in a game for two different clubs in the Premier League
Vital QPR has frequently alluded to a relegation-threatened team`s necessity for a goalscoring saviour in recent weeks, and as QPR prepare for life without theirs for three weeks, Blackburn will be welcoming back their champion striker after a three match absence of his own. Yakubu has been sorely missed after his best Bruce Lee impression against Fulham, with Blackburn gaining a single point in their last three games, scoring twice and conceding 10. QPR arrive at Ewood Park for the Nigerian`s return - perfect timing. Yakubu was swiftly ushered in to Blackburn on deadline day in the summer, and whilst many, bar Sky Sport`s animated and effervescent Scot Jim White, barely battered an eyelid, Yakubu has since got heads turning with his twelve league goals and commanding performances. The striker could still easily be twice his apparent age, but Blackburn fans won`t care if he`s 52 or 22, as long as he guides his side to safety.
Yakubu is currently rivalling Micah Richards for the accolade of the 'biggest arms in football` and it is the striker`s physical prowess and powerful playing style that proves so effective. Having usually been employed as a lone striker for Blackburn this season, the frontman is central to Blackburn`s attacking play. Yakubu`s significantly greater than average body size limits his movement around the football pitch and you will probably find him running the box width as opposed to hunting down the channels, but it is the Nigerian`s effectiveness in front of goal which is the danger, and despite being guilty of one of the greatest misses of all time in the 2010 World Cup Finals for his country, you would count on the striker finding the net more often than not. Blackburn`s owners, The Venky`s, are food experts and will surely be licking their lips at the prospect of their team 'feeding the Yak as he will score`.
Yakubu started his career at Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, joining the club in 1999. He made a brief yet profitable loan spell at fellow Premier League club Hapoel Kfar Saba where he managed to score 16 goals in 23 league appearances. He returned to his parent club where he won the league on consecutive occasions, earning an excellent scoring record with it, including seven goals in eight Champions League appearances in the 2002/2003 season. He joined Portsmouth in the Championship in 2003 on a loan deal where he helped the club secure promotion to the Premier League, scoring at a rate of a goal every two games.
Portsmouth made the deal permanent in May 2003, signing the striker for a fee of £4 million. He played in 37 of Portsmouth's 38 Premier League matches in the 2003/2004 season, starting all but two games. Yakubu's 16 goals made him the club's leading goalscorer and joint-sixth highest scorer in the league. He managed a total of 29 league goals in 67 appearances in his two year stay at Fratton Park, before Middlesborough moved to snap up the striker for a fee of £7.5 million in 2005. His goalscoring record continued at the Yorkshire based club where he managed 25 goals in 73 league appearances.
David Moyes paid a sizeable £11 million fee for the striker in 2007 and was soon rewarded as 'The Yak` managed an impressive 21 goals in all competitions in his debut season for The Toffees. His goalscoring continued despite falling out with his manager after arriving back late from the African Cup of Nations in 2008 and experiencing regular occurrences of injuries. The striker spent the back end of last season on loan at Leicester, where he proved his goalscoring worth yet again, and Blackburn swooped to sign the out of favour striker at the beginning of this season.