Charlton Athletic have announced the signing of versatile defender James Abankwah on loan from Italian top-flight side Udinese.
The talented, 19-year-old joins the Addicks for the remainder of the 2023/24 campaign.
Abankwah has two Serie A appearances to his name, making his full league debut for Udinese against Juventus at the end of last season.
He has represented the Republic of Ireland at U16, U18, U19 and U21 level.
Abankwah shared his excitement after sealing the move. “It feels great to be a Charlton player. I’m delighted to be here and I’m ready to go. I’m hoping to gain a lot of experience here and help the team win as many games as possible.
“I bring that winning mentality and I have also got a lot of speed, strength and I am a very powerful player. I like to bring that to the team to help as much as I can.”
Technical Director Andy Scott also spoke highly of Abankwah’s capture: “James is a highly-regarded young player who was the subject of a large transfer fee from St. Patrick’s in Ireland to Udinese. He has already made his debut in Serie A which shows how much they think of him.
“He is a player that I watched a number of years ago in Ireland and I have followed his career ever since, through the Republic of Ireland youth age groups from U16 to U21 level. All the reports we have had on him are exceptional and, with James joining, it gives us more defensive versatility.”
Abankwah who was born in Waterford, Ireland to Ghanaian parents, signed his first professional contract at SSE Airtricity League Premier Division outfit St Patrick’s Athletic, having impressed for the club’s academy teams.
After shining in his 13 appearances for St Pat’s, he was signed by Udinese on a four-and-a-half year contract in January 2022 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be a record amount paid for a League of Ireland player.
The centre-back made his debut for the Italian club in April 2023 in an away fixture at Bologna. He made his first Serie A start two months later in a narrow 1-0 loss at 36-time champions Juventus.
Meanwhile, the defender, who can also operate at right-back, will link up with the Republic of Ireland’s U21s next week for their upcoming Euro qualifiers against Turkey and San Marino.