Barely four days after Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, was diagnosed of acute Leukeamia, his English Championship club, Wolverhampton Wanderer has replaced the ailing player.
Wolves on Monday sealed a two-year contract with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, 30, as possible replacement for Ikeme.
Ruddy has just one cap for England and is a strong contender for the number one jersey for Wolves next season
However, a statement on Wolves website made it clear they have been pursuing Ruddy “throughout the summer” even before Ikeme’s leukeamia ailment was diagnosed in a preseason check up.
“This is a bittersweet feeling for me – it is good to be here but the circumstances could have been better,” Ruddy announced on his arrival in Wolves on Monday.
“Having played against Carl over a number of years, I know what a good goalkeeper he is so it would have been fantastic for the club to have had us competing and bringing out the best in each other.
“Now it is a situation where football takes a back seat for Carl and everyone’s thoughts are with him,” the new Wolves keeper stressed with a tinge of sadness.
Ikeme who has started the chemotherapy treatment for the cancer of the blood took to twitter at the weekend to thank legions of his fans around the world for their show of love in his present situation.
“Thank you all for your kindness and love. The start of a new chapter and ready to give it my all! Thank you” Ikeme tweeted. With over 200 caps for Wolves, Ikeme has spent the greater part of his professional career at the club.
But while the English club has made a replacement for Ikeme, Nigeria with a double header World Cup 2018 qualifier against Cameroon in barely 60 days from now is yet to make any move to strengthen that vital area of the senior national team.
As at Monday, a Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) source hinted THISDAY that though Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, is in deep shock over Ikeme’s leukeamia, no goalkeeper has been penciled as possible replacement for the gangling Wolves safe hands.
“The Technical Adviser (Gernot Rohr) is in shock over the news of Ikeme’s ailment. He has not taken any decision yet on which player to replace the Nigerian number one goalkeeper yet. We are waiting to hear from him,” observed the NFF source to THISDAY yesterday evening.
Ikeme became Nigeria’s number one man between the sticks following Vincent Enyeama’s unceremonious departure from the Super Eagles mid 2015.