Nigeria international goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has joined Italian Serie A side Udinese from Watford FC of England on a four-year deal, www.aclsports.com reports.
Okoye, 23, has found playing time difficult to come by in the past eighteen months in England and will hope his fortune change in Udine where his friend and international teammate William Troost-Ekong once played.
The Super Eagles star featured only twice for Watford last season, starting a match apiece in the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup but was largely third choice to Daniel Bachmann and Ben Hamer.
Okoye was born in Dusseldorf, Germany into a Nigerian family on 28 August 1999, going on to join the Bayer Leverkusen youth ranks, where he stayed until he made the move to Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2017. His debut season with the club saw him make 13 appearances for the under-19s and five for the second tier in the fourth tier of the German football pyramid.
The following year, he became a stable part of the second team, featuring in 15 matches and training with the first team on a regular basis.
In 2019/20, his 14 appearances for Fortuna’s second team earnt him a move to Eredivisie side Sparta Rotterdam, where he played 29 games in all competitions in 2020/21, before going up to 31 matches the following season. Watford then swooped for the goalkeeper, where he spent the 2022/23 campaign.
Okoye has 16 senior Nigeria caps to his name, with his debut coming back in 2019 in a friendly against Brazil and his last appearance against Tunisia in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) round of 16 match in Garoua last February.
The shotstopper is set to don the number 40 jersey for Udinese and will provide competition for the club’s Italian goalkeeper Marco Silvestri.
Okoye is reported to be highly rated by Udinese manager Andrea Sottil who could include the “handsome baller” in his Match Day squad for the Serie A trip to Salernitana on Monday.