Name: Michael Obafemi
Date of Birth: 6 July 2000
Position: Centre-forward/Winger (Right)/Second-striker
Michael Obafemi – his career so far
Michael Obafemi is now already a fully-fledged senior team member at Southampton and given his pedigree and success at youth level, that statement doesn’t really come as a big surprise at this point. But the Irish centre-forward is not exactly a product of the Saints’ academy but has had quite a colourful path towards it.
Before joining Southampton’s own development squads, Obafemi spent some time in revered academies at Chelsea, Arsenal and even Watford as he progressed through the ranks, impressing the right people and turning some heads along the way as well. Still, he would have one more stop after all those spells before he could join his current team.
The now 19-year-old talent played for Leyton Orient for a while before he was scouted and scooped up by the Saints in the summer of 2016, first joining up their U18 squad in the U18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup during the 2016/17 campaign.
But he was quick to impress his new club as well and the following season brought more success his way with Obafemi splitting his time between the U18 and U23 squads and even getting his first senior team exposure as well.
As a whole, however, the now 19-year-old centre-forward would tally a total of 32 appearances for Southampton’s U18s, scoring 15 goals and assisting further two and then recording 21 appearances for the U23s with eight goals and five assists under his belt in the process as well.
Needless to say, his stay in the academy and the development squads was quite successful and was rewarded with his professional debut as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in January 2018, aged just 17 years and 199 days.
Since then, he’s made a total of 27 senior team appearances, scoring four goals and assisting two on the side as well. Interestingly enough, his first goal meant he would become the club’s youngest scorer in the Premier League to date, at 18 years and 169 days old.
Even though he’s already reached the heights of the first-team squad, there is more to come from this talented young centre-forward.
At the moment, there don’t seem to be any transfer rumours or transfer news surrounding Obafemi and the young player is likely to stay at Southampton at least for the time being. Seeing how his contract is still valid until 2022, the 19-year-old could be looking to impress even further once football finally resumes.
Of course, with the summer transfer window rapidly approaching, no one is really exempt from transfer rumours but so far, it’s been quiet on that front in regards to Southampton news on possible exits from the club.
But that should be a blessing for the Saints since Obafemi certainly has a lot more to offer in the near future and they should do what they can to ensure he stays at St. Mary’s Stadium.
Obafemi is clearly far from a finished product but he’s been showing glimpses of his brilliance throughout the stay at Southampton. The youngster’s natural fitness is certainly what immediately catches the eye and his raw pace, agility and strength are definitely one of the highlights of his player profile.
Despite not having a very big frame, the Irish striker has the power to engage and win duels but will mostly use his acceleration to blaze past defenders and get into favourable positions. While he also has a great mentality, the technical side of his player profile could still be improved.
He is decent on the ball but is still far away from a modern striker who regularly links up with his teammates and supports the build-up phase of their attack. But seeing how he’s only 19, there is still time for him to polish some of the traits and keep progressing even further.
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