Celtic youngster Armstrong Okoflex travels to complete summer exit to West Ham

By Euan Davidson

June 23, 2021

Celtic youngster Armstrong Okoflex has jetted to London to complete a move to West Ham.

Okoflex, signed in 2018 [Celtic FC], came through Arsenal’s youth ranks, and has represented Ireland and England at international level. Despite sparking up a partnership with Karamoko Dembele in the Academy, his progress has been stalled. Okoflex has only made one first team appearance, in a 1-1 draw against Hibernian at Celtic Park.

According to the The Herald, a deal is all but done. Huddersfield had tried to prise away Okoflex back in the winter transfer window, but pulled out at the last minute. Their loss is West Ham’s gain, with David Moyes impressed by the youngster.

It’s a very disappointing end to a promising career at Celtic. Despite featuring in a position of weakness for the club, as well as starring for Ireland U19s and England U16s [Transfermarkt], Okoflex never got a look-in at Celtic. Brendan Rodgers brought him in with the expectation that he would become a Hoops star. Instead, he’s been left to stagnate in the Academy, with chances at a premium.

It speaks volumes that his only first team appearance came when Celtic were bereft of players. It was actually Gavin Strachan who gave him his start, in January of this year [BBC]. Although his first touch and his willingness to take on players offered promise, he didn’t get much a sniff at goal in the disappointing draw with Jack Ross’ Hibs.

Surely we could’ve used West Ham bound Armstrong Okoflex

Obviously, we aren’t privy to what happens at training, but unless Okoflex was a terrible professional, it’s bizarre that he didn’t get a chance at Celtic.

Given that his best position is on the left-wing, it seems as if we could’ve used the former Arsenal youngster. Instead, of actually using wingers, though, Neil Lennon and John Kennedy seemed tied to a 4-4-2 diamond, that stifled all of the width in the team.

Okoflex on international duty for Ireland / (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It stands to reason that West Ham are planning on picking up the player based on something, though. Being able to move from Arsenal, to Celtic, then to another Premier League club indicates that he must be at least a decent trainer, as well as showing flashes of quality when he makes a team sheet. David Moyes wouldn’t just throw darts in the dark and hope one of them hits the bullseye.

Truthfully, we don’t know enough about Okoflex’s qualities to assess whether he’ll be a success at West Ham. Physically, he didn’t seem quite ready for the demands of first-team football, but a lack of experience surely plays its own part in that regard.

This could be another huge missed opportunity. Hopefully he’s not another Shay Given or Andy Robertson; a young talent we had and gave away.

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