Everton win race to land promising Sunderland youngster Francis Okoronkwo - reports
Hot prospect Francis Okoronkwo looks set to be the next Sunderland youngster to leave the club amid reports Everton are to sign him in a deal worth up to £1million.
The Daily Mail report Everton have agreed a deal – subject to Premier League ratification - for the highly-rated 16-year-old amid interest from several top flight sides.
The youngster, who was invited to an AC Milan training camp five years ago, has long been earmarked as a potential star by academy chiefs at Sunderland who are keen to develop young players and show them a pathway through to the first team.
However, if he does depart, he will be the latest in a long line of youngsters to leave League One Sunderland in recent years
Sunderland have lost a number of graduates in recent years, including Joe Hugill and Logan Pye to Manchester United last summer, Bali Mumba to Norwich City, Sam Greenwood (Arsenal, now Leeds) and Luca Stephenson (Liverpool).
In a bid to show Okoronkwo how highly he was regarded at Sunderland, he was invited to the Papa John’s Trophy final to watch alongside the senior players unavailable for the game. He had been invited along by Kristjaan Speakman & Co as part of his footballing education.
Sunderland had hoped Okoronkwo was to be one of the next talents off the production line at the AoL. The young midfielder has impressed the coaching staff with his ability and attitude, and has already featured heavily for the U18s last season.
He was invited to travel to Wembley and watched alongside Aiden O’Brien, Dion Sanderson, Bailey Wright, Arbenit Xhemajli, Carl Winchester and Denver Hume.