Dundalk FC have completed the signing of free agent Nathan Oduwa, a former Tottenham Hostpur and Rangers forward who has also played in Slovenia, Denmark and Israel.
Oduwa had been training with the SSE Airtricity League champions since last week. The club confirmed the signing, likely to be the Lilywhites last until the summer window, on Tuesday afternoon. Boss Vinny Perth said coming to the League of Ireland was “an opportunity for him to rebuild his career.”
“Nathan is someone we have tracked for a while. He trained with us last week and we were really impressed with him. He can play left-wing, right-wing and we also feel he could operate as a centre forward,” Perth said.
“Career-wise, he probably made a couple of wrong decisions over the past couple of years but he’s got real pedigree and this is the first time he has felt at home in a group for a long time. He’s had loads of options and he has been to lots of different clubs over the past few months but this felt more like a home move for him.”
The globe-trotting 24-year-old has represented a total of eight clubS so far in his somewhat nomadic career. Having come through the youth ranks at Tottenham without ever making a senior appearance, Oduwa had had loan spells in the Scottish Championship with Rangers and with Luton Town in League before shorter spells at Colchester United and Peterborough United in League One.
Since leaving Spurs in January 2017, he played for Olimpjia Ljubljana in Slovenia for eighteen months, before joining Vejle Boldlub in Denmark – where he played alongside new Dundalk teammate Sean Murray – and then Hapoel Hadera in the Israel Premier League.
The Londoner adds to an already well-stocked array of forward options for Dundalk, with Pat Hoban, Georgie Kelly, Daniel Kelly, John Mountney, Greg Sloggett, Patrick McEleney, Will Patching, Lido Lotefa and Michael Duffy battling it out for just four attacking positions in the Lilywhites starting XI.
Last month, Perth confirmed he was still in the market for one more forward player – and the versatile Oduwu seems to fit the bill in that sense. “We were very close to one or two other players and it’s what happens at this time of the year. We have a bit of an injury crisis up front and we’ve got Kelly, Duffy and Hoban – 16 goals from the wingers and Hoban’s obviously up over 70-odd goals in the last year and a half for us, so we are not that badly stuck,” he said.
“But you can see that you need people on the pitch. If something goes wrong over the course of the season you need extra bodies. So, we are probably short of one more, say, attacking player, but we’ll see where that goes.”
Dundalk had been linked with a current Tottenham youngster – but links to Republic of Ireland international Troy Parrott didn’t materialise into a move.
Speaking today, new signing Oduwa – who had been on trial with, amongst others, Swansea City – says he has been impressed with Dundalk so far. ”
“My agent told me to come over and have a look at Dundalk and I was surprised at the standard and the facilities, to be honest.”
“In England, they don’t really talk about the League of Ireland too much but the gym facilities, changing rooms and canteen here is of European standard.
“I’m only 24 but I’ve travelled to a lot of places and I’ve learned a lot. The world of football can be very cut-throat and players like to have security and be somewhere where they are happy to play and express themselves and I feel like I have that at Dundalk. I’m just raring to go now.”
While playing together in Denmark, Murray and Oduwa shared the pitch together just twice, totally 30 minutes of play. Since leaving Spurs over three years ago, Oduwu has played just 2,192 minutes of football – the equivalent of 24 matches.