Irish striker Obafemi signs three-and-a-half year deal with Southampton

Irish striker Michael Obafemi has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Southampton FC, the club has announced.

This afternoon, the 18-year-old Academy graduate penned the deal which commits him to the club until 2022.

Obafemi made his senior debut for the Southampton in January of this year at the age of 17 - making him the second-youngest player to feature for the club in the Premier League.

Speaking this afternoon, Obafemi said: “It's a good day. I'm happy that it's done and now I'm looking to move forward.

I'll always be thankful to the club for sticking by me, and I just want to show everyone what I've got.

“I'm determined to show the fans and everyone at the club why I've been given a three-and-a-half-year deal.”

The prolific scorer has established himself as an important part of the first-team squad under new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl.

"Young players like Michael represent a big part of the future of Southampton, so this is an important day for him and also for the club," said Hasenhüttl.

"Already, he has shown to me he can have a big impact in our games and, with the right guidance and also with the right approach from him, I think this influence will increase.

“This is a big day for Michael, but I think what is most important now is that he realises this is the start for him, and that he must use this as a base to make the next steps in his development.

There is still a great amount of potential for Michael to fulfil and a lot for him to achieve, and this is the best place for him to do it, so he must focus on working as hard and professionally as possible to make sure he becomes the player I believe he can be.

Obafemi has only represented one nation — his birthplace of Ireland — in a competitive fixture but holds a close connection to the homeland of his parents, Nigeria.

A third nation is also vying for his allegiance and, as Irish fans know too well, England rarely miss out on their targets.

As the young striker has spent most of his life in England, having relocated at a young age from Ireland with his family, he is very much ingrained in their culture.

He has already attended some training camps at the invitation of the English FA but it is unclear if he is yet eligible as he or his parents would need to have obtained a passport.

What is encouraging for the FAI, however, is that Obafemi accepted their invite into the U19 squad last September after those England training get-togethers.

More on this topic

Redmond double steers Southampton closer to safetyRedmond double steers Southampton closer to safety

Ralph Hasenhuttl hails  James Ward-Prowse’s never-say-die spiritRalph Hasenhuttl hails James Ward-Prowse’s never-say-die spirit

Southampton secure second successive win under HasenhuttlSouthampton secure second successive win under Hasenhuttl

Charlie Austin facing FA chargeCharlie Austin facing FA charge


More in this Section

Conor O'Shea's Italy power past NamibiaConor O'Shea's Italy power past Namibia

Georgia forwards coach Graham Rowntree is ‘technically one of the best’Georgia forwards coach Graham Rowntree is ‘technically one of the best’

Aaron Smith believes win over South Africa reasserts All Blacks’ supremacyAaron Smith believes win over South Africa reasserts All Blacks’ supremacy

Lukaku hails coach Conte after Inter Milan maintain 100% startLukaku hails coach Conte after Inter Milan maintain 100% start


Lifestyle

It was an effervescent and often moving turn by an artist with a meaningful claim to the title of world’s most interesting pop star.Ariana Grande's opening night at 3Arena in Dublin proved why she is the world's most interesting pop star

More From The Irish Examiner