Everton has announced the signing of highly-rated teenager Francis Okoronkwo
this summer. And after Okoronkwo turned 17 on Saturday, he was
finally able to sign his first professional contract with Everton until June 2024.
Okoronkwo, who was born in Blyth, Northumberland, left Sunderland without
making his professional debut, although he was a prominent player for the U18 side
last season, scoring three goals and providing three assists in seventeen appearances.
In a U18 Premier League match in May, he was on target and assisted on a goal as
Sunderland overcame Everton 4-3.
Okoronkwo has been described as a skilled attacker with exceptional speed, mobility,
and balance who is comfortable playing in all frontline positions.
Sunderland had him on their books for about five years, And he will go straight into
Everton’s youth side coached by Paul Tait.
Should Okoronkwo immediately impress at Finch Farm, there is also a good chance
he will be bumped up to Everton’s U23s.
The youngster’s Goodison Park move is the last piece of summer business for
manager Rafa Benitez.
After replacing Carlo Ancelotti, Benitez oversaw a frugal transfer window that
resulted in less than £2m spent on the senior squad.
The entirety of that fee went on Bayer Leverkusen winger Demarai Gray.
While the remaining four transfers of Andros Townsend, Salomon Rondon, Asmir
Begovic and Andy Lonergan were freebies.
In contrast, summer 2020 saw Ancelotti spend nearly £70m on big names including
James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
But Benitez’s policy is going well so far, with Everton picking up ten points from their
opening five games.
However, Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa is sure to keep the Spaniard up at night.