Everton have reportedly signed one of Sunderland’s biggest young talents in Francis Okoronkwo, who is set to arrive at Goodison Park for just £1 million.
Rafael Benitez’s first signing as an Everton coach might turn out to be an unlikely one, as reports from Daily Mail suggest that the club has secured the deal for Francis Okoronkwo. The 16-year-old forward stems from the Sunderland youth academy and is set to arrive at Goodison Park this summer, once the Premier League ratifies the transfer.
Okoronkwo is considered one of Sunderland’s biggest youth prospects in recent years. And while the League One club was determined to keep hold of his services, the English whizkid opted to switch to Everton. The Toffees, though, will have to pay around £1 million for the services of the highly-rated forward.
Standing at a towering 6ft 3 inches, Okoronkwo initially rose to prominence with his performances in the English youth competitions. He notably featured in seventeen Under-18 Premier League last season, being involved in six goals. His contributions in the final third raised a lot of eyebrows of scouts across England.
However, it appears Everton has emerged as the most appealing destination for the youngster. It is hardly surprising either, as the Merseyside giants have successfully integrated young players into the first team in recent years, with star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin being the prime example.
The likes of Tom Davies and Beni Baningime have emerged as potential first-team options as well, while in Thierry Small, Everton have one of the most exciting English talents in their sleeves. They do face a battle to keep hold of the young left-back, though, with Arsenal and Manchester United reportedly interested in his services.
Nevertheless, as far as Francis Okoronkwo is concerned, he should be an exciting addition to a team brimming with young talents. Aged just 16, the Sunderland forward will logically be drafted into the Everton U18 or Everton deserve, depending on how highly the scouts rate him.
But one thing is for sure, Okoronkwo has a considerable chance of making his breakthrough at Goodison Park if he can maintain his progress in the next few years. The Toffees are already troubled by the interest around Calvert-Lewin, while Richarlison was targeted by Real Madrid as well, potentially making way for the youngster to make an impression and soon gain a place in the senior side.