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Sunderland fighting to keep hold of teenage prospect Francis Okoronkwo

Sunderland are fighting to keep hold of teenage prospect Francis Okoronkwo.

The Daily Mail says Sunderland invited schoolboy Francis Okoronkwo to Wembley for their EFL Trophy Final in a bid to fend off Premier League interest.

The Black Cats are aware of top-flight clubs circling around their Under-16 striker and the new regime are determined not to lose him.

Sunderland, now under the ownership of Swiss trust-fund billionaire Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, want to build the club around emerging talent such as Okoronkwo.

New sporting director Kristjaan Speakman is keen to learn from the mistakes of the previous owners, who sold a host of gifted youngsters, including striker Joe Hugill, the 17-year-old who is now winning rave reviews at Manchester United.

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