Background to Preston North End's signing of Matthew Olosunde

Preston North End's interest in Matthew Olosunde had gone back some months.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 8:00 am

They had checked the American out in the January transfer window and kept an eye on him ever since, him turning down a new contract at Rotherham United at the end of the season the cue for PNE to make their move..

Talks started in the first half of June, the desire there from both parties to get a deal done.

Olosunde, 23, visited the Euxton training ground last week, then came a quiet few days in the process.

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Preston North End's new signing Matthew Olosunde       Picture courtesy of PNE
Preston North End's new signing Matthew Olosunde Picture courtesy of PNE

Things sprang into life on Wednesday morning after the terms of Olosunde's contract were agreed by the player's dad - who is his agent - in the United States.

Then it was a case of getting the contract drawn up and arranging for Olosunde to have his medical.

Paperwork had to be signed in America, the right-back went through the usual medical checks and scans, before he was announced as PNE's fourth signing of the summer at 8.30pm.

The upshot is that Olosunde will be able to start pre-season training with his new team-mates this morning.

Right-back became a position North End needed to strengthen after the January sale of Darnell Fisher to Middlesbrough.

Alan Browne was used as a stop-gap, then Sepp van den Berg - a centre-half by trade - was tried there and became a success.

Longer term though, a natural right-back/wing-back was required.

Olosunde was a player PNE liked the look of, his pace a big attraction. There's work to do with him but there is a confidence he can do well.

Rotherham offered him a new contract at the end of the season in the hope of keeping him around for their bid to bounce straight back to the Championship.

Their offer was for less money he had been on - a consequence of dropping into League One - and that worked in North End's favour.

Had the Millers offered him the same deal he'd been on or a better one, they would have been entitled to compensation as Olosunde was under the age of 24.

Instead Olosunde became a free agent, the same as any player aged 24 or above who had finished their contracts.

PNE's homework on Olosunde was extensive, recruitment analyst James Beet watching hours of footage of his appearances from the last 12 months - as he does with all potential signings.

When North End head coach Frankie McAvoy did his coaching badges a few years ago, he'd visited New York Red Bulls.

McAvoy had kept in touch with one of the coaches there who would later coach Olosunde as a youngster.

They got a reference from the States, while Manchester United were spoken to - United having brought him to England in 2017.

He didn't make the first-team squad there, playing Under-18s and Under-23 football there before Rotherham signed him two summers ago.

Olosunde has signed a two-year contract at PNE, shorter than deals a lot of his new team-mates signed upon joining. There is scope to extend going forward.

At North End he will find a familiar face in goalkeeper Mike Pollitt who was at Rotherham for part of Olosunde's first season there.

He played in the Millers team with Daniel Iversen who all being well, will be back on loan at Deepdale from Leicester before the summer is out.

Olosunde has one senior cap for the United States, with him having played at Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 for his country.

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