Atalanta defender and captain, Rafael Toloi, believes Italian-born Nigerian defender Caleb Okoli has developed well and is ready for the Serie A action for the club in the new season.
The 21 year old Okoli, a centre-back, joined the Atalanta academy in 2015.
He was loaned to SPAL in the 2019/20 season in the Serie B and he spent last season with Cremonese also in the Serie B,although Cremonese have been promoted to the Serie A this season.
Okoli has since joined up with the rest of Atalanta senior squad. He was impressive in Atalanta’s preseason friendlies against Valencia and Newcastle United.
Chris Wood’s penalty gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Atalanta. Valencia defeated Atalanta 2-1 with Hugo Duro scoring a brace, while Ederson scored Atalanta’s consolatory goal.
In an interview with Tuttoatalanta.com Toloi assesed Okoli’s growth and readiness to play in Serie A.
“He is very strong physically,” Toloi said.
“He has grown a lot and I find him ready and in the matches against Valencia and Newcastle he has shown that he can be there.”
Okoli has played for Italy at the U-19, U-20 and U-21 levels. He is eligible to represent the Nigeria at senior international level due to his parentage.
Okoli recorded one assist in 27 Serie B games for Cremonese last season.
Atalanta finished eighth in the Serie A last season with 59 points from 38 games.
By Toju Sote
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