The Montreal Impact have re-signed Orji Okwonkwo. The Nigerian is just the striker that manager Thierry Henry, who is a legendary center-forward himself, needs.
After a successful first season in Major League Soccer, Orji Okwonkwo is coming back for another year on loan from Serie A club Bologna.
The Nigerian striker scored eight goals in 28 appearances for the Montreal Impact last term and was a key part of the successful run at the Canadian Championship which the Impact won to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
His influential performances led Okwonkwo to be named Montreal Impact MVP at the conclusion of the 2019 season. He will arrive in Montreal on a year-long loan with an option to buy.
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One of the top goals of the year came from Okwonkwo when he scored spectacularly against the Portland Timbers. The loose ball fell in the penalty area to Okwkonkwo, but before any defenders had the chance to set themselves and prepare for the danger, the striker spun and volleyed into the top corner.
An option to purchase was added to the loan deal which means Okwonkwo could be on his way to staying with the Impact permanently. If he can replicate his 2019 form in 2020 there’s no doubt the Montreal Impact will seriously consider signing him to a multi-year contract at the end of the season.
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Okwonkwo’s return is going to give Thierry Henry fewer headaches in his first season with the Impact. Firstly, Henry and the front office will not have to go after a striker in the transfer window to lead the way. They bring back a quality attacker who already knows his teammates and the nature of the MLS.
A full season of Ignacio Piatti, Bojan, Maxi Urruti, Romell Quioto, and Okwonkwo together has the makings of a potentially formidable side in the Eastern Conference. And with the legendary Henry at the helm, someone who surely knows how to get the best out of a center-forward, who knows what the Impact attack could be capable of in 2020.
Unlike last season, the Impact will be involved in the CONCACAF Champions League which brings more fixtures to the schedule. Even with the acquisition of Urruti and Quioto, there was still need for further depth in the forward department for the Impact. Okwonkwo will certainly be featured in the Champions League matches and his playmaking ability will be of great importance to getting as far as possible in the competition.
Henry needs a reliable striker to help the Impact in his first season and Okwonkwo is just the player to do that. With Serie A experience on his resume, the 22-year-old showed last season he can be the star player for the Impact. Looking ahead to this year, and the new French manager could turn Okwonkwo into a lethal MLS striker if all goes well in Quebec.