Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has reiterated that the club did all they can to keep Francis Okoronkwo after the forward left for Everton.
The 16-year-old had been extremely highly-rated at the Stadium of Light, but such form caught the eye of some of the top clubs in the country.
And, with Okoronkwo yet to agree a professional contract with the Black Cats due to his age, it was always going to be difficult for the club to convince the player to remain on Wearside.
A move for the teenager was announced today, with Everton believed to have paid around £1m to land the talent.
That has understandably frustrated some of the support, who want to see academy players given a chance in the future. However, speaking to the club’s media, Speakman explained how they did all they could to convince Okoronkwo to stay.
“We are disappointed that Francis and his family took the decision to leave the football club earlier this summer, as we demonstrated a clear pathway for him to continue his development into the first-team environment.
“Throughout the summer, we have displayed our ability to retain and attract young talent and we have started to honour our long-term commitment that our homegrown players will be integral to our philosophy and future success.”
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This is a shame for Sunderland as Okoronkwo is clearly a player who has huge potential, and the fans would’ve wanted to see him pull on the red and white shirt in the future.
But, it’s not to be and most of the support will recognise that the club were in a difficult position here.
From Speakman’s comments, they did all they could to convince the forward to remain on Wearside and were willing to give him chances further down the line but he has decided to make the switch to Everton.
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