Jonathan Afolabi’s move to Celtic was confirmed on Wednesday, and a report from Football Insider has confirmed that Southampton failed in their attempts to keep hold of him following his contract’s expiration.
Twitter: Welcome to #CelticFC, Jonathan Afolabi! (@CelticFC)
The Republic of Ireland youth international was highly thought of at Saints, but his deal came to its conclusion at the end of the season.
Afolabi’s departure on a free transfer had been known for some time, but claims from Football Insider reiterate that the club did make an effort to extend his stay at St Mary’s Stadium.
However, after offers from two other English clubs, the 19-year-old has signed a three-year contract with Scottish Premiership champions Celtic.
#CelticFC’s new number , Jonathan Afolabi! https://t.co/eNQ8TlVig8 (@CelticFC)
Read Southampton’s verdict
Afolabi looked sharp for Saints at Under-23 level when given the chance, and his move to Celtic reflects the potential that he has to become a high-level forward in the future.
The youngster had always appeared to be on the cusp of emerging as a candidate for first-team action at Southampton, but the progression of 19-year-old Michael Obafemi could have pushed him a little further down the pecking order.
Dan N’Lundulu is another young striker who boasts plenty of promise, and Afolabi’s exit may not come as too big a blow for Saints in the here and now.
However, if he can channel his qualities and break into Neil Lennon’s plans at Celtic in the seasons ahead, it will be interesting to see just how the youngster fares on the senior stage.