The London-based Premier League side have won the race for the signature of Nigeria defender Fredrick, who won acclaim on the back of star performances at the U-20 World Cup this year
Premier League side Brentford are on the verge of completing the signing of Nigeria youth international Benjamin Fredrick from Kaduna-based Simoiben FC. Pulse Sports understands the defender will join the Bees on a one-year loan with an option to buy.
Fredrick was one of the standout performers in Nigeria’s run to the quarter-finals at the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The Flying Eagles posted upset victories over eventual finalist Italy and host nation Argentina en route, and kept two clean sheets.
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The 18-year-old’s partnership with Abel Ogwuche in the heart of the defence was pivotal to the team’s progress, as the pair started all but one of Nigeria’s five matches. The outlier, a 2-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Brazil with qualification from the Group Stage already confirmed, came with Fredrick rested to skirt the threat of suspension.
For the duration of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Ladan Bosso’s Nigeria side did not concede from open play with Fredrick on the pitch.
Brentford snag much sought-after Fredrick
Fredrick's performances in Argentina earned rave reviews, quickly establishing him as one of the elite centre-back prospects on the planet.
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Before his summer switch to Al Wehda, Odion Ighalo had earned one of the highest salaries in the history of Nigerian football. However, the veteran forward will reportedly be earning less than a billion naira yearly with his new deal.
As such, this signing represents a real coup for Brentford. The West London club beat out competition from Liverpool, Midtjylland and Celtic, all of whom were keen to secure the player's signature, by offering a clearer career pathway.
Fredrick, who has had loan spells with Nigeria Premier League sides ABS FC and Nasarawa United, will be the second player to join the Bees on the heels of breakout performances at the 2023 Under-20 World Cup. In June, Brentford acquired the services of Korea youth international defender Ji-Soo Kim from K League Two side Seongnam.
Fredrick flew into the United Kingdom on Sunday and underwent a medical on Monday. As part of a tour of the facilities, he met up with Nigeria international Frank Onyeka, who is employed by the club.
The 18-year-old is now set to put pen to paper for the London club subject to the issuance of a UK work visa and other regulatory processes. Simoiben FC will receive no fee for the loan.