Omatsone Folarin "Sone" Aluko (born 19 February 1989) is a professional footballer who plays as a forward for Fulham. He can also play as a winger.
Aluko began his career at Birmingham City but failed to make any league appearances. He joined Aberdeen on loan in the 2007–08 season and was loaned to Blackpool at the beginning of the 2008–09 season. After just one appearance for Blackpool, he signed for Aberdeen permanently in August 2008. He left Aberdeen in July 2011 at the end of his contract. Aluko signed for Rangers in November 2011 and scored 12 goals in 21 appearances during the 2011–12 season.
Born in England, Aluko was capped by England at all levels up to under-19 before accepting an offer to play for Nigeria.
His sister Eniola Aluko was born in Nigeria and is also a professional footballer who plays for Chelsea Ladies and England Ladies.
Aluko was born in Hounslow, London, and brought up from a young age in Birmingham. He progressed through Birmingham City's youth system, which he joined at the age of eight. He was given a first-team squad number in the 2005–06 season, and was an unused substitute in the Premier League match against Arsenal at Highbury in October 2005. He made his first-team debut for Birmingham on 28 August 2007 as a late substitute in the League Cup tie against Hereford United.
In August 2007, Aluko joined Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen on loan until January 2008. He made his debut for Aberdeen as a late substitute in the UEFA Cup group match against Panathinaikos on 25 October 2007. He scored his first goal for the club the following week, opening the scoring in a 2–0 victory over Dundee United. The loan deal was extended to keep Aluko at Aberdeen for the rest of the season. In February 2008, as part of a performance which earned him the man-of-the-match award, he scored Aberdeen's second goal in a 2–2 draw against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup Round of 32.
Aluko signed for Blackpool on a month's emergency loan on 8 August 2008, and made his debut the following day as a late substitute in the Seasiders' 1–0 home defeat to Bristol City.
On transfer deadline day, 1 September 2008, Aluko returned to Aberdeen on a permanent basis, signing a three-year contract for a fee of £50,000 with the club. He made his return in a 2–1 home defeat to Hamilton on 13 September, and scored his first goal since rejoining the club to clinch Aberdeen's first home win of the season, a single-goal victory over Kilmarnock on 1 November. Aluko went on to win the SPL Young Player of the Month award for November 2008. In September 2009, the tabloid press reported that he had put his Aberdeen future in jeopardy by going to play in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, against the wishes of manager Mark McGhee. He left the club at the end of his contract in July 2011.
Following his release from Aberdeen, Aluko had a trial with Juventus. He then went on trial at Rangers. Rangers were impressed with Aluko and offered him a contract, but the move was held up while Aberdeen and Rangers negotiated compensation. Aluko signed for Rangers until the end of the season on 24 November 2011 after a deal was agreed.
Aluko was banned for two games for diving to win a penalty in the Rangers-Dunfermline game of 3 December 2011. Rangers' manager, Ally McCoist, stated "The three gentlemen on the panel have effectively called my player a cheat and a liar, neither of which he is". On 25 March 2012, Aluko scored the opening goal in Rangers' 3–2 victory over Celtic. He scored a hat-trick for Rangers in a 4–0 victory at St Johnstone on the final day of the 2011–12 Scottish Premier League season.
In June 2012, with his contract set to expire but the club holding an option to extend it, Aluko lodged an objection against the contract being transferred from Rangers to a new company set up by Charles Green. PFA Scotland had previously commented that players were entitled to become free agents if they objected to the transfer.
Aluko has raised a constructive dismissal claim against Rangers.
On 25 July 2012, it was confirmed Aluko signed a two-year deal with Hull City. He made his debut in the home match against Brighton and Hove Albion on 18 August 2012. On 1 September 2012 he scored his first goal for the club against Bolton Wanderers at the KC Stadium. After the international break, Aluko scored his second goal for Hull City in the following game against Millwall to make it 4–0 before half time. On 2 October, Aluko made it 3 in the Hull City shirt by scoring a wonderful strike from 20 yards out into the top corner against Blackpool.
His next goal came at the end of October against Bristol City. Himself and Jay Simpson linked up to put Hull 1–0 ahead inside 8 minutes, to which the commentator compared the goal to Barcelona. He bagged another in the next game, at home to Barnsley. Team mate Ahmed Elmohamady's cross was half-cleared and Aluko, unlike Barnsley's defenders, was alert to the ball and fired home from a tight angle. He then made it 3 in 3 and 6 goals for the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers, putting in a free-kick from 25 yards into the bottom-left corner past Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme. On 17 November, Aluko scored twice against former club Birmingham City to put Hull 0–2 up, they went on to win the game 2–3. This made it five goals in five games for Aluko and eight goals for the season. In November 2012, Aluko picked up an Achilles injury, initially ruling him out for a month, which Hull City incidentally won all four games he was missing, but later in January the injury flared up again. This meant Sone would require surgery, with fears he would be out for 6 months, but after successful surgery, he was expected to be back in 2 months time.
Aluko's first goal of the season, a 76th-minute "stunning volley", was Hull's winner in a 3–2 victory away to Newcastle United on 21 September. In November Steve Bruce announced that Aluko denied a contract extension, this blow to Hull came shortly after Aluko tore his Achilles again which would see him out of action until February. He signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract with the club on 3 January 2014, on the contract extension Aluko told the club website "I'm happy to be extending my stay here and I was always hopeful it would get sorted". On 17 May 2014 he played as a substitute in the 2014 FA Cup Final against Arsenal.
On 2 June 2016, it was announced that Aluko and team-mate Ryan Taylor would leave the club prior to their contract expiry.
On 8 July 2016, Aluko joined Fulham on a free transfer. Aluko signed a two-year deal with an option for a further year. On 13 August 2016, Aluko scored his first goal for Fulham, the opener in a 2–1 victory over Preston North End.
Aluko represented England at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level before making his debut for the England under-19 team on 11 September 2007 in a friendly against Belarus under-19. He was involved in two of the goals in a 4–0 win. He was selected in the 23-man provisional squad for the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship but did not make the final 18.
Aluko was named in the squad for the Nigeria under 20 national football team for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt. He played in games against Venezuela, Spain and Tahiti.
Aluko was called up to the Nigerian national team for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland on 29 May 2009, an offer which with the support of his family he chose to accept. He made his full international debut in the starting eleven, forcing the Irish goalkeeper to save his 40-yard lobbed free kick and playing the first 61 minutes of the game.
In April 2010, he was named in the provisional Nigeria squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but failed to make the final cut. He was finally called up by former Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi and therefore has a chance to add to his one cap against Republic of Ireland in May 2009 after he represented England at various age-group levels. He was brought into the squad to face Namibia and Malawi in the World Cup Qualifiers in the month of June 2012, but was an unused sub for both games.
Aluko was included in a pre-selection for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations but had to renounce because of an injury. Nigeria later won the tournament.
He scored his first goals for Nigeria against South Africa in a 2–2 draw on 19 November 2014 in the qualifying round for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Aluko's older sister, Eniola, is also a footballer who has played for England women's football team 90 times at full international level; she has played in two World Cup quarter finals and reached the quarter finals of the London 2012 Olympics football tournament with Great Britain. His father is a former MP in Nigeria, while Bolaji Aluko, a chemical engineering professor, is his uncle.
- As of 7 May 2016.
|Birmingham City||2007–08||Premier League||0||0||0||0||1||0||—||1||0|
- Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first:
|1.||19 November 2014||Akwa Ibom Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria||South Africa||1–2||2–2||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|