NIGERIAN teenager Iffy Udanoh has signed a academy deal with English Championship side Stoke City due to come into effect on July 1 this year when he turns 17 ending a tug-of war that involved at least three Premier league clubs.
Iffy, a towering centreback, who was once invited to the Nigerian U17 camp, is eligible to represent England, the US and Nigeria. Compared with Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk, Iffy, who started off his career playing for non-league side Erith & Belvedere, is seen as a talent that will one day blossom into a world class player.
Over the last year, the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, West Ham and Arsenal have all been keen on securing his services. He was earmarked to sign a scholarship deal with Aston Villa but with several other clubs, including Lyon in France, battling for his services, he had to review his options and finally agreed to move to Stoke City.
After leaving Aston Villa, Iffy went to Spurs to undergo trials and did really well doing his time with the North London club. However, Stoke City snatched the centreback from under the noses of Spurs, offering him a contract after just one trial game.
His minders believe the Potters are the best club for him in terms of a pathway to first-team football that he might not get elsewhere. His scholarship deal with Stoke City will come into effect on July 1, 2020.
In total, it is claimed eight Premier League clubs were keen on Udanoh, before he signed with Villa. Iffy will now play for Stoke’s U18 side as he looks to impress during the course of his initial deal.