No real surprise that the first big money sale of the summer for the Submarine is Nico Jackson, on his way to the EPL and Chelsea for “a bit more than” €35m, which will be paid over installments. There’s probably a sell-on clause of some sort, no details are known yet.
Bournemouth will be kicking themselves, having canceled his signing in January over medical concerns, while Villarreal got another few months of his breakout season and more money in the end.
Jackson was signed in the summer of 2019 from Senegalese club Casa Sports, having just turned 18 and already nicknamed the “Senegalese Neymar”. He went into our under-19 team, then to the B team, but was loaned out for most of the 2020-21 to second division Mirandés, where he scored one goal and didn’t impress that much.
Back with Villarreal B the next season, he had a breakout season, scoring five times, twice more in the promotion playoffs, and appearing at the World Cup for Senegal. And then, 2022-23, which was really a story of two seasons. From August to December he appeared in 14 matches and scored one goal, then he was out for essentially three months with the hip problem that scuppered the Bournemouth deal.
But starting in April, he went on a tear: 10 goals and 2 assists in 11 matches—10 goals in only 780 minutes of football, was La Liga Player of the Month in May, and finished his Villarreal career off with a goal against Atlético Madrid.
€35m is probably reasonable for someone with such a small number of matches at the top level, though watching him over the past two months, his finishing has improved dramatically and we could be looking at a player worth twice that fairly quickly. Regardless, great business for Villarreal, we wish Nico all the best in the EPL, and thanks for some great memories!