After signing for West Ham in the final few days of the January transfer window, Emmanuel Emenike grabbed his first two goals in a West Ham shirt in their 5-1 rout of Blackburn in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Following two substitute appearances in the Premier League, playing a combined 37 minutes against Southampton and Norwich, the Nigeria international was given his first start by Slaven Bilic at Ewood Park.
The Croatian’s faith in the former Fenerbahce man was subsequently rewarded as he bagged a brace with the score at 2-1 to add some gloss to the final result after both sides finished with ten men, with both Chris Taylor and Cheikhou Kouyate receiving red cards.
With the Hammers into the final eight and set to face either Shrewsbury or Manchester United, Shoot takes a closer look at whether West Ham’s January signing can give them a boost as they look to end their final season at the Boleyn Ground in style.
Where did it all begin?
Born in Aguleri in South East Nigeria, Emenike began his career at Delta Force FC, who play at a stadium named after Bolton and Super Eagles legend Jay Jay Okocha. The striker played for free, and even walked for an hour-and-a-half to training.
Emenike moved to South Africa to play for his first professional club, Mpumalanga Black Aces, before moving to FC Cape Town. The striker, aged 22 at the time, scored four times in 23 appearances throughout his yearlong spell in South Africa.
How did he end up in Europe?
His first move to Europe came about in 2009 as he signed an initial one-year deal at Karabukspor. The Nigerian was a huge success, scoring 16 goals as The Blue Flame won promotion to the Turkish top flight and winning the Best Foreign Player award.
Emenike continued his goalscoring form in the Super Lig, and his 14 goals was not only enough to lead the club to a ninth placed finish but also earn a €9m move to Turkish champions Fenerbahce in the summer of 2011.
Following a match-fixing scandal that banned the club from Europe for two years, Emenike was quickly sold to Spartak Moscow for a similar fee having not played a game for Fenerbahce, and scored 13 goals in his debut campaign in Russia.
Despite top-scoring for Nigeria and leading the Super Eagles to Africa Cup of Nations glory in February 2013, his following two seasons at Spartak had only yielded nine goals and the hitman subsequently moved back to Fenerbahce in August 2013 for €13m.
Whilst the striker grabbed 12 goals in his first full season in Istanbul, his second campaign was far less fruitful and he moved on loan to Al Ain in Abu Dhabi for the 2015/16 season.
Why did he move to West Ham?
After scoring seven goals in 11 appearances for the team nicknamed ‘The Boss’, West Ham were interested in acquiring the striker. His loan spell in the UAE was cut short, which allowed Emenike to move to the Premier League for the first time in his career.
After two sub appearances in the league, Emenike and West Ham will hoping he can add the goals that could not only get West Ham to a potential FA Cup win, but also push them into Europe in their final season before moving to the Olympic Stadium.
Could he sign permanently?
According to Fener’s chairman Aziz Yildrim, there is an option in the loan deal for the Hammers to make Emenike’s stay in East London permanent for around £8.3m should he keep scoring after his initial brace at the weekend.
Despite the striker only being signed to provide cover for the injured Andy Carroll following Nikica Jelavic’s move to China, the Nigerian could become a bargain if he adds more goals in a West Ham shirt.