Seeing young Irish footballers go a bit further afield to develop their careers is something we're all for. The academy system in England is incredibly tough to crack, with developing players seemingly being given far more opportunities on the continent.
It is telling that a number of young Englishmen have now started leaving their own country. The League of Ireland underage system now offers a genuine alternative for our youngsters, but if they do decide to leave these shores, we would love to see some of them take a chance in Europe.
That is what one Westmeath native has done.
Deji Sotona was born in Waterford, before being raised in Westmeath. He cut his teeth at Mullingar Athletic, before joining Manchester United a couple of years ago.
The 17-year old was a regular for the club's U18 side last season, making 15 appearances in the U18 Premier League, four in the FA Youth Cup, and one in the EFL Trophy. He scored five goals and registered two assists.
It is believed that Sotona decided to leave Manchester United after being unhappy with the terms of the professional contract he was offered, instead opting to take up the option of a move to France.
Sotona announced the move on his Instagram page, with Mason Greenwood amongst those in the comments wishing him the best of luck.
Nice released a statement to announce the move, saying they were "delighted to welcome a player with great potential who will join Patrick Vieira’s group this season”.
Sotona has represented Ireland up to U16 level, and is also eligible to play for Nigeria and England. Set to turn 18-years old in December, he will be hoping that first team opportunities may not be too far at a club who finished in fifth-place in Ligue 1 last season.
Image credit: Nice.com