Why West Ham have struck gold with the signing of starlet Mipo Odubeko
According to the Daily Mail, West Ham have completed the signing of former Man United academy prospect Mipo Odubeko, who was a free agent following his departure from Old Trafford earlier in the summer.
The 17-year-old, who bagged as many as 35 goals for United’s U-18 side last campaign, was regarded as one of the hottest emerging prospects in the Red Devils’ academy but he turned down the opportunity to put pen to paper on fresh terms.
The teenager’s availability on a free transfer had put a number of foreign clubs like Bayern Munich and Genoa on red alert but West Ham eventually managed to beat off competition to bring Mipo Odubeko to East London. (h/t Daily Mail)
Born in Tallaght, Ireland, to parents of Nigerian descent, Odubeko moved to England in 2015 and chose to join Man United over their cross-town rivals Man City. The highly-rated starlet has already featured for Republic of Ireland’s U-17 side but he remains eligible to represent Nigeria at the senior level.
Ideally, Odubeko would have expected to make progress to the U-23 level this term after proving his credentials for Man United’s U-18s last season.
However, as per the report, the 17-year-old is likely to initially start training with the U-18 side in East London, given that he was without a club during pre-season and would definitely need some time to get his fitness levels up to the mark.
The new recruit, though, could face stiff competition for places up top in Mark Phillips’ U-18 ranks, with the likes of Sebastian Nebyla and Veron Parks already sharing 9 goals between them in the U-18 Premier League.
To put things into perspective, West Ham already have a number of up and coming academy talents like Grady Diangana, Nathan Holland, Conor Coventry, Josh Cullen and Joe Powell staking a claim for a role in Manuel Pellegrini’s team and Mipo Odubeko looks like yet another fantastic addition to the existing pool of burgeoning young talents in East London.
West Ham’s widely-acclaimed youth system has blooded numerous England internationals over the years, with Declan Rice being the latest academy gem to make a big impression on the first-team.
Diangana, too, enjoyed a lot of involvement last season and Pellegrini has shown that he is not afraid to give the youngsters a chance if they are good enough to do a job.
Mipo Odubeko is only 17 and still very much in his formative years as a footballer but early signs suggest that he has all it takes to evolve into a top-quality professional in the years to come and the Hammers could have a gem on their hands in the future if he goes on to fulfil his promise.
There are plenty of stages still left in his development curve, which includes making a transition to the U-23s and then moving out on loan to some Football League club in order to gain professional exposure before he is ready to make the jump up to the Premier League.
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That he racked up such impressive numbers in front of goal for United’s U-18s last season is definitely a mark of rapid progress and Odubeko will be keen to show his new employers what he is capable of.
All in all, West Ham snapping up Mipo Odubeko is a move that highlights the club’s faith in blooding young talents and one that could go on to pay rich dividends moving forward.