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Sports News of Saturday, 13 August 2022


He is ready - Atalanta captain believes young Super Eagles-eligible defender is Serie A quality

Memeh Caleb Okoli Memeh Caleb Okoli

The Brazilian-born Italy international is convinced the Nigerian descent’s development is at an advanced stage

Memeh Caleb Okoli has shown that he is ready to become a key player for Atalanta during the 2022-2023 season, says club captain Rafael Toloi.

Raised in the Atalanta youth academy since 2016, Okoli signed his first professional contract with the Goddess in 2020.

The Italy youth international was impressive on loan at Cremonese last season, helping the Grey and Reds secure promotion to Serie A.

Atalanta refused to send the 21-year-old on another loan this summer, with manager Gian Piero Gasperini running the rule over the young centre-back in preseason.

Okoli was one of Atalanta’s few outstanding stars during the friendly defeats to Newcastle (1-0, July 29) and Valencia (2-1, August 6).

The Super Eagles-eligible youngster is in line to make his Serie A debut this weekend when Atalanta make the trip to Sampdoria on Saturday.

And Atalanta captain Rafael Toloi believes the young defender has shown remarkable abilities to merit a place in the first team.

“He is very strong physically,” Toloi, 31, said in an interview with L’Eco di Bergamo, as per Tutto Atalanta.

“He has grown a lot and I find him ready and in the matches against Valencia and Newcastle he has shown that he can be there.”

Okoli has been joined by Super Eagles attacker Ademola Lookman at Atalanta.

Lookman, after an excellent year at Leicester City, joined the Italian Goddess from RB Leipzig on a four-year contract for a reported fee of €15 million.