Abankwah set for move from Inchicore to Udinese
Following a breakthrough 2021 at Richmond Park, St Patrick’s Athletic teenager James Abankwah is set to seal a big move to Serie A outfit Udinese in the coming days.
That is according to a report in Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, which suggests the central defender (who turned 18 earlier this month) will be loaned back to the Saints until June before making a permanent switch to Udinese in advance of the 2022/23 season.
In addition to gaining further first-team football over the next few months, Abankwah will also get an opportunity to sit his Leaving Certificate examination.
While it hasn’t been finalised just yet, it is understood that the price being offered for Abankwah would be a record purchase for a League of Ireland player.
The €500,000 fee that Manchester City paid Shamrock Rovers for the services of Firhouse native Gavin Bazunu remains top of this particular list, but is now set to be eclipsed.
Because he signed a professional contract with Pat’s in July of last year, Pat’s are able to command a significant fee for the defensive prodigy.
Originally from Longford, Abankwah joined Cherry Orchard after making a subsequent move to Dublin.
Having begun the 2021 season in the club’s underage ranks, he went on to clock 13 first-team appearances under the now-departed Stephen O’Donnell.
This included a cameo off the bench last November at the Aviva Stadium as the Saints were crowned FAI Cup champions at the expense of Bohemians in a penalty shootout.
Replacing Paddy Barrett in the 80th minute of the action, Abankwah was an assured presence alongside Lee Desmond at the heart of the Pat’s defence.
Although he will be a loss to newly-appointed Saints boss Tim Clancy when he does ultimately pack his bags for north-eastern Italy, he is expected to play his part as the Inchicore men look to establish themselves as title contenders in the early weeks of the new campaign.