NICOLAS JACKSON has got his big move to the Premier League.
The 22-year-old talent, born in Gambia but plays his international football for Senegal, has agreed to sign for Chelsea.
The Blues will pay Villarreal £30million for the 6ft2in forward, who should offer plenty of goals.
He was handed his professional debut by Aston Villa boss Unai Emery, when the Spaniard coached the La Liga club.
While in Africa, his sudden rise has seen him called the 'Next Neymar' for the skills he has at his disposal.
However, he could have been on our shores as early as January.
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Bournemouth had agreed a deal, for the move only to fall through at the final hour.
As a youth, Jackson played for Senegalese team Casa Sports.
He had one season with the top flight side, before Villarreal snapped him up in 2019 and the attacker began training with their U19 team.
An initial struggle, it was believed the youngster would benefit from first team football
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Jackson spent the 2020-21 season on loan at second division Mirandes, scoring his first professional goal against against CD Castellón in a 1-1 draw a month after his arrival.
It was his only goal of the campaign, one in which he played 16 times.
Seeing he was beginning to settle in, Villarreal moved Jackson to their reserve team, where he became the main man scoring seven goals to help the team achieve promotion to the second tier.
In 2021, he was handed his La Liga debut by Unai Emery who knew he had a talent on his hands.
“He is a player who is in the process of growing.There are times when some players have to go elsewhere to grow, but we are betting on him because his contribution is very high,” Emery said at the beginning of last season.
“He must get experience in front of goal and this is a learning process. We need to establish young players and we want to bet on them."
And he didn't disappoint…
The 2022-23 season was Jackson's breakout year.
After forcing his way into the first team, he contributed a staggering 18 La Liga goal contributions.
Following an injury in March, he returned in April and May to score nine goals across two months.
A combination of quick feet, impressive dribbling skills and an eye for goal made him an impressive commodity.
It also led to plenty of comparisons in his playing style.
He was labelled the 'Next Neymar'. Others said he was similar to Sadio Mane. Both superstars of the game. Both you would be happy to named alongside.
Senegal boss Aliou Cisse called Jackson up to his squad for two friendlies – just two months before the World Cup.
Impressed, he selected him as a wildcard for Qatar, where he made his full international debut in the defeat to Netherlands in their opener.
Premier League could have come sooner
After the World Cup, and before he exploded into life in La Liga, Jackson was almost a Bournemouth player.
The South Coast club had settled on a £22.5million deal, with a contract all agreed upon.
But, the move would collapse at the last-minute.
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the move was shelved after Jackson failed a medical.
Doctors determined he would be out of action until March 10 with a hamstring injury – not the expected February 10 return date.
With Bournemouth fighting for their safety, the Cherries didn't want to take that gamble going into the final months of the season.
Their loss was Villarreal's gain as the young striker struck a rich vein of goalscoring form.
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Jackson ended the season on fire, with nine league goals in eight matches as Quique Setien's Villarreal secured a Europa League spot.
After an outstanding finish to his season in Spain, Jackson will be ready to hit the ground running under Mauricio Pochettino when he links up with his new team-mates.
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