When Maduka Okoye left Fortuna Dusseldorf for Sparta Rotterdam, some felt it was a backward move.
Now, Maduka Okoye is one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe. He looks certain to be a transfer target this summer.
Where next for Maduka?
The 21-year-old has been linked with two clubs in particular: Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona. For the former, Andre Onana is likely to leave.
Earlier this year, the keeper was banned from international football due to doping issues.
Meanwhile, at the Camp Nou, Marc-André ter Stegen is long-established as the No.1. Ter Stegen believes he is underpaid and could leave.
That would create an opening for Maduka whose stock has risen.
Maduka’s own next step will surely take him away from Sparta Rotterdam. His agility and impressive reactions make Maduka a thoroughly reliable shot-stopper.
Keeping the ball out of the net is a given when you’re talking about a keeper who’s going to cost around £10million.
Maduka is supremely confident with the ball at his feet, as demonstrated with his performance for Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch Eredivisie.
One area for improvement, though, is his decision-making. He can get sucked into playing a long ball when a short pass would suffice.
He sometimes lacks conviction when coming for crosses or balls into the box too. But it’s worth remembering he is still a baby in goalkeeping terms at just 21.
Overall, though, he is good with hands and with his feet. Those qualities mean he is ready the follow in the footsteps of other notable Sparta Rotterdam alumni.