Everton have signed Sunderland youngster Okoronkwo

Monday, 13 September, 2021 18comments  |  Jump to last

A report by Daily Mail journalist, Craig Hope, alongside the list of Academy players submitted to the Premier League this week, confirms that Everton have signed Sunderland youngster Francis Okoronkwo over the summer.

The 16-year-old, who featured 17 times for Sunderland's U18 side during the U18 Premier League last season, including one game where Sunderland edged Everton in the best of seven goals, was linked with the Toffees back in July when it was suggested a deal was imminent.

It appears as though he has indeed been picked up by Everton for a reported £1m.

Okoronkwo's name was included on the list of 59 U21 players Everton submitted to the Premier League last week but the club had made no official announcement of the acquisition.

Updated Okoronkwo was eventually unveiled officially by the club, however, on 20 September when it was announced that he would join Everton's U18s squad. This was just after his 17th birthday, and the club confirmed that he had signed a 3-year professional contract, with no mention of the fee paid to Sunderland.

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Reader Comments (18)

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Andrew Ellams
1 Posted 14/09/2021 at 12:17:03
I thought this one was done a while ago. There a quite a few links going back to July saying it was all but done.
Allen Rodgers
2 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:39:44
Ah right ! I misheard and thought we were in for some lad called Albert Dunne.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
3 Posted 14/09/2021 at 14:57:21
Bit like the rumour we expected to sign Neymar

But then it turned out to be Duncan saying we expected to sign nae more.

Robert Tressell
4 Posted 14/09/2021 at 15:21:46
Matt Targett must get confused, too. Apparently everyone's in for him
Bill Watson
5 Posted 15/09/2021 at 01:44:33
That made me laugh, Phil!

I'm not sure I like the idea of Premier League sides 'stealing' Academy players from other clubs. It all seems a bit unsavoury.

Frank Crewe
6 Posted 15/09/2021 at 10:59:24
59 U21's. I wonder how many of them we will ever see playing at Bramley-Moore Dock?

Let's hope Okoronkwo finds a viable route to the 1st team and doesn't end up as loan-out fodder, as so many of them do.

Drew O’Neall
7 Posted 15/09/2021 at 15:25:52
Everton need a new transfer strategy.

We should buy:

1. The best <21 youngsters making regular appearances in Europe’s main leagues, in the £10-20M bracket, £30-50k wages. Like Leicester have done this year. Don’t say they won’t come because they will if we pay the top wages. Unlike the late 20’s/early 30’s journeymen we have been paying mega money to, these players have sell on value once they have performed in the Premier League and are saleable.

2. The odd 22-27 year old ‘unicorn’ match winner who is prepared to come to us from a lesser premier league team to improve themselves or because they are a South American mercenary, for >£50M. Think Richarlison, Zaha (two years ago) etc.

3. Bosmans, free transfers and contract rebels of any age, with no initial outlay and short contracts to make up the squad.


We train these U21’s and release them after 3 years wasting £1-3m fees and our time and resources in the process.. Chelsea’s model is better, buy the best youngsters and loan them out around Europe.. why waste resources on feeding them reserve team football only so they can stagnate?! ‘Ooh but what about Rhino? He’s a good lad and he’s true blue’..

Paul Hewitt
8 Posted 15/09/2021 at 15:28:53
Another to disappear without a trace.
John Graham
9 Posted 15/09/2021 at 18:36:18
As has been proved over the years, our coaching setup needs a drastic overall.
Many promising young players have come and gone, never looking like they were going to break into the first team, and some even being returned from loans because they were not good enough.
It’s no good scouting around for the best youngsters unless we can bring them up to the next level and create opportunities for them in the first team squad.
Many of our coaches are here only because they are ex players first and coaches second. We need to start by getting in the best scouting system, together with the best coaches and then bring in the kids.
At the moment we are way behind most other teams and probably getting worse.
Paul Birmingham
10 Posted 15/09/2021 at 20:42:18
Let’s see how this lads career develops at Everton. I recall this was gonna happen in the summer.

How he’s gonna be developed and I’m sensing he will be u18s and U23s, will be interesting.

David Unsworth surely will have a plan. ?

Kieran Kinsella
11 Posted 15/09/2021 at 21:21:39

Tried and tested plan. Bring them in, let them stagnate until they're married with kids then they get to have coffee with Brands, partake in a token first team training match, then we release them to lower division clubs.

Fran Mitchell
12 Posted 15/09/2021 at 21:30:39
People are quick to dismiss such transfers.

However we got Stones, Holgate, and DCL in similar manner. While we got another 10-20 who didn't make it, we got 50 million for Stones, would probably get 10+ for Holgate if we sold, and could possibly get 80+ for DCL.

That's really not a bad record and worth signing the occasional youngster who stays for 5 years and doesn't make the grade.

Robert Tressell
13 Posted 15/09/2021 at 21:39:51
Personally, I think we should make more of these sorts of signings. Very low cost - and every so often a Sterling or Sancho will emerge. We've done ok in this sort of market too with DCL, Holgate and Stones. Of course some will fall away for a variety of reasons (Bowler, Sambou etc) but for each one that works out you save the club huge sums of money.

Once pretty much any u21 player has about 10 or so premier league games under his belt he's worth £10m or possibly much more.

The RS buys and sells such players like commodities too, using the u23s and the loan system to increase their value before flogging them on for profit (like Camacho and Ki Jana Hoever), helping them reinvest within FFP / premier league rules.

Looking forward to seeing him play and hopefully develop into a really good player.

Allen Rodgers
14 Posted 16/09/2021 at 15:14:36
Fran @12, Stones, Holgate and DCL didn't come through our academy which I think is the point most people are making.
Colin Glassar
15 Posted 17/09/2021 at 11:20:07
Spot on Fran. This kid will probably disappear into the FF Black Hole never to be heard of again.
Michael Kenrick
16 Posted 20/09/2021 at 21:27:11
Looks like this really was only confirmed last week, with the key issue being getting him to sign as a full professional on his 17th birthday, which was on Saturday. So not too surprising he wasn't in the U18s squad for yet another defeat, this one at mighty Burnley.
Michael Kenrick
17 Posted 21/09/2021 at 10:18:01
Essentially a quid pro quo for losing Thierry Small?

This is what Sunderland Sporting Director, Kristjaan Speakman, said of their disappointment at losing such a talent:

“We are disappointed that Francis and his family took the decision to leave the football club earlier this summer, as we demonstrated a clear pathway for him to continue his development into the first-team environment.

“Throughout the summer, we have displayed our ability to retain and attract young talent and we have started to honour our long-term commitment that our homegrown players will be integral to our philosophy and future success.

“Although we are disappointed Francis will not be a part of that process, we wish him and his family well. All at SAFC wish Francis the very best of luck for the future.”

Sounds like an instant replay! Tends to reinforce Tony's oft-repeated point of how cut-throat and ruthless the world of Academy football can be.

And just amazing the sheer wisdom and prescience being offered by some of the 'smarter' minds of the ToffeeWeb collective. [Not!] You probably know who you are...

Can't we wait and see how the lad steps up to the plate rather than post this ridiculous bile?

Robert Tressell
18 Posted 21/09/2021 at 11:55:27
I can only echo what you've said Michael.

It's a shame that Brexit / work permits prevented us from getting the kid from Alkmaar on deadline day too.

We need more of these.

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