Victor Orta put pen to paper on the dotted line to sell Caleb Ekuban to Trabzonspor less than 12 months ago, and AC Milan’s reported interest would surely suggested the Leeds United director of football made a mistake.
Ekuban, 26, joined Leeds in the summer of 2017 from Italian side Chievo as a complete unknown. Beforehand, Ekuban had scored 18 goals during the 2016-17 campaign on loan with Albanian side FK Partizani.
It convinced Orta to bring the striker to Elland Road – but he failed to adapt. A couple of foot injuries hampered his progress, and he ended his first season with just two goals in 21 appearances for Leeds.
With Marcelo Bielsa arriving, as well as Patrick Bamford, Ekuban was shipped out to SuperLig side Trabzonspor on a loan-to-buy deal. He has since starred for Trabzonspor, and despite injuries this season, he has been excellent.
In 36 outings last season, he scored eight goals and created three more – earning a permanent £900,000 (Sabah) move and a call-up to the Ghana squad. This season, Ekuban has improved his form even more so.
The former Chievo striker has scored another eight goals in just 25 appearances, as well as laying on six assists. In five Europa League appearances this season, Ekuban has scored four goals including a hat-trick against AEK Athens.
That form has seen Ekuban – who is now rated at £9million (Fotospor) – linked with a move to AC Milan, by Fanatik. For Ekuban to be linked with such a big club, for a fee 10 times what Leeds sold him for, you would suggest Orta made a mistake.
But, at the time, Orta was right to sell the striker who was clearly not cut out for English football. The physical, quick Championship saw Ekuban struggle and although he is impressing in Turkey – Orta was right to sell him.