Derby County are one of the biggest stories of this season, with the Championship club battling to avoid relegation despite their 21-point deduction to start the season and continuing financial troubles.
They have certainly performed beyond the expectations held by many, with a couple of Irish players a big part of that.
Jason Knight has been a key player at the club for a couple of years now. The midfielder is one of the brightest talents in the Championship at the moment and has been drawing plenty of longing gazes from Premier League clubs.
Festy Ebosele has also emerged in recent months. Operating mostly from right back, the Ireland U21 international has produced some stunning attacking displays in recent months. At only 19-years old, the Wexford native has quickly established himself as a very exciting prospect.
He has already been linked with a number of clubs, with the player being available on a free transfer at the end of the season after his contract expires. It now looks as though he has picked his next club.
Festy Ebosele set for Udinese move
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio is reporting that Festy Ebosele is having a medical with Udinese ahead of signing a pre-contract agreement to join the club on a free transfer to the Serie A club this summer.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) February 4, 2022
This would continue the recent growing trend of young Irish players moving to Italy, with the likes of Kevin Zefi, Cathal Heffernan, and James Abankwah all joining Serie A club in recent months. This is something that is set to become all the more common as the effects of Brexit take hold in Irish football.
Festy Ebosele would link up with Abankwah at Udinese, who is set to join the club from St Pat's this summer.
The Derby County man is a bit further along in his development than some of the players mentioned above, meaning he will no doubt have ambitions to immediately contribute at first team level.
What a run by Festy Ebosele this is 🇮🇪pic.twitter.com/XtoBRj5iQx
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@RepTracker) January 15, 2022
The last Irishman to make an appearance in Serie A was Robbie Keane, who last played for Inter Milan in the 2000/01 season.
You would also imagine that a senior international debut is on the horizon for him over the course of 2022...