Why ‘Little Ronaldo’ Olawale turned down Borussia Dortmund move

    The Nigeria youth international was tipped for a move to the Bundesliga outfit but his academy opted for another preference

    ‘Little Ronaldo’ Peter Olawale’s potential move to German Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund failed to materialise as the teenager was not assured of regular playing time at the Westfalenstadion.

    The 17-year-old had a decent outing at the 2019 U17 Fifa World Cup where he got a goal in the Golden Eaglets’ 2-1 loss to Australia.

    His performance in Brazil did not go unnoticed as the Tripple 44 Academy product attracted interest from a host of European outfits, with Dortmund among the early contenders to win the race for his signature.

    But that move did not come through and his mentor Olatunji Samuel Okuku explains what happened behind the scenes.

    “The issue here was that Borussia Dortmund wanted him but could not guarantee him regular playing time, and we don’t want a situation where the boy would head for a club where he won’t be given a chance,” Okuku told Goal.

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    “Without doubt, Dortmund are a very solid team and they have a good project for young boys, nevertheless, if you look at how the team is set up in the last couple of years, you will discover that most of their superstars have first made a name for themselves elsewhere.

    “So for Olawale who is still a boy, we feel it is better for him to go somewhere and develop himself. And if Dortmund comes later in his career, that, of course, will be a very good move.”

    Before the coronavirus pandemic placed football into hiatus, Galatasaray offered around €500,000 for the striker’s services, while Sevilla’s bid came in significantly lower, even after that, Tripple 44 Academy rejected those offers.

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    Lille-bound Olawale clocks 18 on July 26 and Okuku has given a hint on the talented footballer’s likely destination.

    “As it stands, we have like three or four options of possible destinations where Olawale would like to go and play professional football,” he continued.

    “However, the pandemic has slowed a lot of things down but we are hoping that the Nigerian government lifts the ban on air travel which I feel will fast-track everything.

    “If he doesn’t join Lille as planned, his destination would likely be Portugal or Belgium.”

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