Maduka Okoye has enjoyed a massive leap in his career, with the player now set to ply his trade in the Premier League.
Players of Nigerian descent are scattered all over Europe, with more and more of them making their way to the Premier League. Unlike in previous years where there were just a handful of Nigerian players in the Premier League, the numbers have started to swell.
The Premiership seems to have fallen in love with Nigerian players again as another Nigerian player will be plying his trade in the division come next season.
The latest name to be added to the list of players to play in the Premiership is Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) November 8, 2021
Okoye joins Watford from Sparta in record transfer
Sparta Rotterdam has confirmed the conclusion of a deal between Watford and Sparta that will see the Nigerian goalkeeper join the English club at the end of the current season.
The deal will set Watford back to the tune of around €7 million. The transfer which sees Okoye join Watford at the end of the season, makes the Nigerian goalkeeper the most expensive sale Sparta have concluded in their history. Okoye thus breaks the record set in 2008 when Mavin Emnes left Sparta for an English club Middlesbrough. The deal fetched the Dutch side €4 million at the time.
Rohr’s preference for Okoye
The choice of Maduka Okoye as Super Eagles goalkeeper by Gernot Rohr was an unpopular one. According to critics, he is young and untested, but Rohr stuck to his guns and kept the goalkeeper.
Okoye played for German lower division side Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2020, from where he joined Sparta on a free transfer. Arriving at Sparta, he was able to nail down the number shirt for club and country.
In the Netherlands, Okoye is regarded as one of the top goalkeepers after he churned out top-rated performances in his debut season.
— Sparta Rotterdam (@SpartaRotterdam) November 8, 2021
It earned him a deal at the club till 2025, with Dutch giants Ajax already sniffing around the Nigerian.
Watford has now beaten Ajax to the punch as they have quickly moved in for the goalkeeper. The Hornets confirmed allowing the 22-year-old to stay at Sparta till the end of the season.
What has been said
Both Watford and Sparta have refused to divulge any more details concerning the transfer. The technical director of the Dutch side was more forthcoming.
Henk van Stee said he couldn’t reveal much other than the figure was one a club like Sparta could not refuse.
Okoye was effusive in his reaction to the deal. He said he prepared himself for the forthcoming international matches after Sparta’s game with Willem II. He added that he went to England to meet with Watford, where things happened quickly.
The young goalkeeper said he was proud of the opportunity to play in the Premier League, which he described as the most glamorous in the world.
The goalkeeper has kept 12 clean sheets in 43 appearances for Sparta and conceded 57 goals.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago