Everton have signed a 16-year-old striker from Sunderland for a seven-figure sum, with journalist Craig Hope taking to Twitter to share the news.
The Toffees have signed Francis Okoronkwo in a deal that could be worth up to £1million, according to the Daily Mail journalist writing via his personal Twitter profile on Monday [13/09/21].
Hope said: “This deal is now done. Francis Okoronkwo has joined Everton from Sunderland in a move worth up to £1million.”
Twitter: This deal is now done. Francis Okoronkwo has joined Everton from Sunderland in a move worth up to £1m. https://t.co/RbpXdjE6qJ (@CraigHope_DM)
The teenage talent is a formidable presence up front standing at 6ft3 and could operate in a target man role for the club.
Given his age, it is probable that he will link up with David Unsworth’s under-23s squad or at the very least, the under-18s.
He impressed for Sunderland Under-18s last season and it stands to reason that his featuring at a similar level will continue. Okoronkwo made 17 appearances in the Under-18 Premier League, scoring three goals and supplying three assists.
Interestingly, he also scored and registered an assist in Sunderland’s dramatic 4-3 win over the Toffees in May.
Read Everton Verdict
Investing in youth is rarely a bad thing, and the sizeable fee for an academy player is a fine testament to the quality that the club feels Okoronkwo could bring to the Toffees’ youth ranks.
In recent years the club has made a habit of bringing through youth players. Anthony Gordon made an impression on Carlo Ancelotti last term, with former youngster Thierry Small attracting some senior minutes.
However, Small departed for Southampton over the summer having rejected a professional deal with the Blues.
The club will be desperate to fight to recruit and retain the best youth talent they can and will not want to invest in Okoronkwo only for him to repeat similar behaviour to Small.