New Watford signing Maduka Okoye has explained why he chose the Hornets over Premier League rivals Southampton, Crystal Palace and Burnley.
The goalkeeper joined Claudio Ranieri’s men on Monday for an undisclosed fee. He has immediately returned to Sparta Rotterdam for the rest of the campaign and will move to Vicarage Road in the summer.
Okoye is a 6ft 6in shot-stopper who represents Nigeria on the international stage. He is known for his acrobatics and lightning fast reflexes.
The 22-year-old will compete with Ben Foster and Daniel Bachmann for a starting spot at Watford. He is seen as Foster’s potential long-term replacement as the Englishman is now 38 years old.
During a recent interview, Okoye explained how his transfer to Watford came to be. He also name checked three other English clubs as holding an interest.
“My management, Prime11, had been in close contact with several clubs from the Premier League since the beginning of the year – Southampton, Crystal Palace and Burnley,” he said (via Daily Echo).
“Watford, with [owner] Gino Pozzo, simply convinced me. I will fight for my place and give everything to be the number one.
“I believe in the quality of the team and I pray and hope they stay [in the Premier League.]”
When leaving Sparta Rotterdam, Okoye sent a heartfelt message to the Dutch club’s fans. He said he was ‘very grateful’ for their support and that his Premier League move was a ‘dream come true’.
Okoye has made 43 appearances for Rotterdam so far, keeping 12 clean sheets.
Southampton, meanwhile, will turn their attention to West Brom’s Sam Johnstone. The England international’s contract expires in June, meaning he will be available on a free.
The Baggies have tried to begin negotiations over a new deal but have been pushed back. It seems Johnstone is intent on returning to the Prem sooner rather than later.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will have to beat West Ham to the 28-year-old’s signature.
Watford in for Italian sensation
Sport Witness, citing reports in Italy, state that Watford and Leicester are aiming to sign Andrea Cambiaso.
The 21-year-old Italian plays at left-back for boyhood club Genoa. While he may not be a name many are familiar with, that will not last for long.
Cambiaso only made his Serie A debut this season, though has quickly established himself as first-choice.
Watford and the Foxes have made ‘enquiries’ over his availability. But they are not alone as AC Milan, Fiorentina and Juventus are potential suitors too.