Curle hopeful of agreeing new contract with Chukwuemeka

Striker was linked to Norwich and Club Brugge last week
Caleb Chukwuemeka.Caleb Chukwuemeka.
Caleb Chukwuemeka.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle says the club remain in 'good dialogue' with Caleb Chukwuemeka's agent as the two parties continue to discuss a first professional contract for the teenage striker.

Chukwuemeka, who has scored two goals in 17 appearances this season, was linked with Aston Villa in the summer, and last week both Norwich City and Belgian outfit Club Brugge were rumoured to be interested in his signature.

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Talks over a first professional contract at the Cobblers remain ongoing though, and Curle believes the 18-year-old academy prospect would benefit from staying put.

"We've got good dialogue with Caleb's agent who's in direct conversation with his father and we're happy with where we are at," said Curle. "He's a young scholar who has been identified as having very good talent.

"Caleb is still under contract because he had an extended deal and now we want to upgrade that to a professional contract which will see him take the first step of the ladder in his career by joining the professional ranks.

"He's already been involved in 17 or 18 games this season so I think he's well on course for where we expected him to be."

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Chukwuemeka is under a youth contract until 2022 and whilst the prospect of moving to a club in the Championship or above would no doubt be enticing, Curle believes it is beneficial for his development to remain with the Cobblers.

He added: "It's been a difficult time for the young lad in some ways but he would have learned a lot about the industry he's in due some of the circumstances he's had to face, such as being in a team which hasn't won as many games as they would want to.

"That puts a different type of pressure on young players but it's excellent for them to be involved in that sort of environment and come through it because it shows the importance of every single shot, every single pass and every single run. They all count.

"Being in that environment and being able to handle that environment is a very good learning curve. You do get some younger players who get caught up in the development process whereby results don't really matter and you can pick up bad habits in that environment.

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"I think it's been an excellent experience for Caleb to involved in the amount of games he has in an environment where everything matters and everything counts and everything is scrutinised. It's a great learning curve.

"The further you go and the higher you go in your career, the scrutiny is intensified and everything you do on the pitch counts and that's the case for us at the moment because every run and pass we make, it's all important as we need that extra yard out of every single player.

"A lot of young players get an understanding of the beautiful game but they don't understand about winning so for Caleb to be involved in that environment is excellent and credit to the lad - he's handled himself very well."