Harambee Stars and Kenyan international, Joseph Okumu has signed for French side, Stade Reims. Okumu's former club, KAA Gent, announced the departure of their 26-year-old defender who now becomes part of William Still's project at Reims.
Okumu is expected to be part of a rebuilding plan at Reims ahead of the 2023/24 French Ligue 1 season. He joins a growing list of at least seven players who have joined Reims since July 1.
Reims head coach, Will Still, recently brought in several players namely Josh Wolson-Esbrand, Amine Salama, Oumar Diakite, Ludovic Butelle, Teddy Teuma, and Reda Khadra
Okumu and Josh Wilson-Esbrand who joins from Man City are so far the only defenders in the list of players who have joined The Reds and Whites since the start of July.
At least ten players have departed Reims to pave the way for the rebuild as Still's ambitious plan to revamp takes shape at Stade Auguste Delaune.
Great defensive addition by Will Still
In a Twitter post, the Harambee Stars defender Reims is flanked by the Reims head coach William Still as he signs his contract with the French club.
— Stade de Reims (@StadeDeReims) July 22, 2023
Last season, Reims finished 11th, shipping in 45 goals and scoring as many in 38 matches. The fact that Reims couldn't score more goals than they conceded last season means Still had to embark on an ambitious plan to bolster his backline.
The arrival of the Harambee Stars' defender is, therefore, a great addition aimed at sealing the defensive loopholes that Reims had last season.
Reims becomes Okumu's third European club
A move to Reims extends Okumu's stay in Europe after a stint in South Africa, the USA, Sweden, and Belgium.
The value of the Harambee Stars defender, which is currently estimated to be €4 million, is expected to rise in the next few years, having previously attracted the attention of top European clubs due to his defensive prowess.
His European career started with a stint in the Swedish club IF Elfsborg, where he spent two seasons from 2019/2020 and 2020/21 seasons before moving to Gent.
In his debut season at Gent, Okumu's stats were impressive. It was reported that several European clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Atalanta, Celtic, and Leicester were interested in signing the Kenyan defender.
However, Gent slapped a transfer value of €15m on the Harambee Stars defender in a bid to keep off interested parties. Fast forward to the 2023 summer transfer, Okumu will now ply his trade in the French Ligue 1.
Before switching to Reims, Okumu has a two-season spell at Gent. The left-footed defender made 61 appearances across the two seasons, scoring two goals. In the 2023/23 season, he made 30 appearances, scored one goal and provided as many assists.
The Harambee Stars defender picked two yellow cards and was sent off once with a red card in the 2021/23 Pro League season. He featured in Gent's Europa Conference League playoffs in April and May, matches that Gent won both legs.
Gent's farewell to Okumu
Gent has wished the Harambee Stars' defender all the best in his next adventure.
The cup, the smiles, the performances 🏆😊 All the best @StadeDeReims, Jo!
— KAA Gent (@KAAGent) July 22, 2023
Gent CEO, Michel Louwagie, also appreciated the Harambee Stars defender following an impressive performance for the Belgian club across two seasons.
Louwagie has thanked the Harambee Stars defender for his time at the club, saying the 26-year-old Kenyan international was part of a formidable defensive trio alongside Ngade and Torunarigha at KAA Gent.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago