Festy Ebosele's Move To Udinese Is Another Cruel Blow For Derby County

The highly-rated 19-year-old will join the Serie A club in the summer, penning a five-year-deal on a pre-contract.​
14:55, 22 Mar 2022

It’s a deal that has been in the pipeline for what feels like a lifetime but Udinese have finally confirmed that versatile Derby County star Festy Ebosele will be joining the club in the summer, penning a five-year-deal on a pre-contract.

A bleak season for Derby has just gotten worse as one of their brightest prospects is bidding farewell to Pride Park at the conclusion of the season. The 19-year-old has made an impact in Wayne Rooney’s side’s quest to beat relegation against all the odds this year. However, with the club in desperate need of funds to stay afloat, the playing assets have been the quickest method of generating capital, with Polish winger Kamil Jozwiak recently departing for Charlotte FC in MLS.

The crushing blow for Derby is the fact they will only gain a compensation fee for the ex-Bray Wanderers youngster, when his efforts this season could have earned the club a lot more had his contract not been up at the end of the year. 

With the torrid situation that the club has found itself in this year, the youngster is one of many prospects to have benefitted by working their way into Rooney’s squad and performing extremely well in the circumstances. Ebosele’s pace, strength and ability on the ball have caught the eye of many this year who will have been salivating at the chance to pry him away from the Rams on the cheap, capitalising on their situation. Many would have felt that the Ireland Under-21 international would have remained in England, but with the volume of reports linking him to Udinese, it got to a point where there was only going to be one destination for him.

It is not hard to see why Ebosele has been pulled in by the challenge of Serie A, as it is not only becoming a more appealing destination for players based in the UK and Ireland, but because players who have already taken the leap are currently thriving in their new environment. Two success stories have already come this season in the form of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori at Roma and AC Milan respectively. The former Chelsea men were in need of a fresh start after their game time was essentially non-existent at Stamford Bridge and both have reignited their careers in Italy.

Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham

Ebosele will also be pleased to know that he will not be the only young Irish international at Dacia Arena next term as he will be joined by under-19s defender James Abankwah. The centre-back joined from St Patrick’s Athletic in January, but he remains with the League of Ireland side until the end of the season.

Across different games across the year, Ebosele has found himself playing as a full-back or as a winger and has had no problems affecting games in either role. His pace alone is frightening, but paired with the ability to glide across the pitch with the ball glued to his feet, it will make him one of Europe’s hottest prospects and with him soon to be playing in one of the best leagues on the continent, his performances will catch the eyes of some even bigger fish.

With him joining Udinese, there is a good chance that it might not be long before he makes his return to English football anyway. The club is owned by Giampaolo Pozzo, whose son, Gino, owns Premier League club Watford. The two clubs have done their fair share of transfers over the years, with recent standouts including Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu and Argentine attacker Roberto Pereyra, so if Ebosele was to do enough to impress in Serie A, and Watford happened to still be a Premier League club, they may just have first refusal on him.

This summer switch will come as good news to Stephen Kenny, the Ireland manager, who has recently signed a new deal with the Football Association of Ireland until Euro 2024. 

The former Under-21s boss is known for wanting to transform the philosophy of the Irish national team and have them playing an open style of football which should hopefully stand them in good stead in the future. He is already looking to usher in and nurture the next generation of Irish talent to assist him in his revolution and with one of the country’s most promising stars going away to play his trade in a foreign division, this will only help Kenny in what he is trying to accomplish with the Boys in Green. 

The 50-year-old will be keeping a close eye on Ebosele’s progress and if he were to make an instant impact for Udinese at the start of next season, he may soon be giving the youngster a call about linking up with the Irish senior team. 

Ebosele is already looking to be a steal for Udinese and provides another lesson to the giants of Europe that gifted players are right in front of them and that they do not need to shell millions on a player just because they can. Udinese could well be laughing in a few years time as they will undoubtedly have a future star on their hands.

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