Coup for Italian Serie B high-fliers Comoas they sign Irish U-17 international Naj

by Jonny Stapleton
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‘Forza Como!’, declared Naj Razi, after making a move to Italy last week.

The highly promising playmaker was the Dublin deadline day story as he secured a move Italy and Serie B.

The 17-year-old trades the foothills of the Dublin mountains and Tallaght for the shadow of the Alps and the picturesque region of Lombardy after signing for Italian side Como.

The Serie B side secured the Irish Under-19 international’s signature after agreeing a ‘signifigant’ fee with Shamrock Rovers and coming to a deal that includes ‘contingency elements’.

It’s a coup of sorts for Como, particularly considering some of Europe’s biggest clubs had expressed an interest in the teen.

The likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea had been keeping tabs on the wonder kid but offered trials whereas the Itialian side came to the table with an offer and contract.

The attacking midfielder and Hoops underage graduate broke into the first team at Tallaght last year, impressing with his displays at the tail end of the season. Indeed, he was seen as a first-team option for Stephen Bradley going into the new term, but now heads for Italy where he will with compete with Como in Seria B.

“There has been a lot of interest in this lad and rightly so,”said Como’s caretaker boss Osain Roberts following the move. “There is no doubt that Naj has the talent but we have also seen that he also has the right mentality.

“He’s grounded, focused and works hard and we look forward to how he develops here in Como.”

Razi added: ‘I can’t quite believe I am here. It’s been a brilliant six months from making my first team and the UEFA Conference [League] debut to playing in the European U17 Championships.

‘It’s exciting to be part of a big project like this and the coaching squad is first class.

‘Forza Como!’ Como is a very interesting club with former Arsenal and Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas a part owner, Thierry Henry an investor and Dennis Wise as club president.

Raji’s underage International teammate, Daniel Babb was another on the move.

The defender makes the shorter trip, relocating to England after signing for Ipswich Town.

The Mount Merrion graduate, 18, broke into the UCD first team last season, playing 10 times in a relegation campaign.

However, his performances in first-team football and underage with Ireland’s u17 and under-19s caught the eye of a number of clubs abroad.

One of which was high flying Championships side Ipswhich, who won the race for his signature.

“Daniel is a shining example of the development pathway both at UCD and through our partnership with the UCD Academy. Special mention also to Daniel’s school, St. Michael’s College, who helped Daniel to continue his education while excelling in his football journey so far,” a UCD statement said.

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