Millwall prospect on Atletico Madrid transfer link and head coach being key to penning new long-term contract


A new long-term contract signed and greater first-team involvement – life is good for Aidomo Emakhu.

But Millwall’s exciting young attacking prospect, 20, is certainly not getting carried away by the praise that has headed his way since a man of the match performance in the 2-0 win over QPR on Boxing Day.

There were plenty of Millwall fans clamouring for Emakhu’s inclusion in Joe Edwards’ starting line up.

And the performance put in against the R’s led to Emakhu making it back-to-back Championship starts for the second time this season as he played 72 minutes as the Lions defeated Norwich 1-0 at The Den in the final action of 2023.

Media back in his native Ireland reported that Spanish giants Atletico Madrid had scouted the former Shamrock Rovers player in U21 action for his country against Norway and Italy.

“I’m not going to lie, I did read up about it – I saw it in the papers and heard about it as well,” Emakhu told the South London Press.

“But I just focus on performing on the pitch and leave transfer talk to Millwall and my agents.

“The contract discussions started around the middle of October but my attention was on my football – because that is what gets the conversation started in the first place. I tried to blot out the noise and then whatever happens, happens.

“I 100 per cent always felt I was going to sign.

“It was about the club, the agent and the player coming to agreement on what was right for all parties.

“I’m glad we got it done in the end.

“With Joe, the new gaffer coming in, that played a big part in me signing because I want to play and learn under him – take my game to another level. I think he is the one that can do that.”

Emakhu is still a relative novice with 67 first-team matches under his belt – 21 of those for Millwall.

And he is determined to stay grounded.

“I think when you get a new contract, more game time and more exposure then players tend to get sidetracked and attracted to the outside noise that comes with it,” said Emakhu.

“But, for me, it is about coming in every day, giving 100 per cent and then come back and do the same thing again the next day – it’s quite simple really. Reset and go again. Then, on the weekend, the reward is to play the game. That is the mentality I have. In your free time you can spend time with your family or friends – but none of it needs to be complicated.

“I’m enjoying every moment and taking every opportunity as it comes.

“Even if I’m not performing at my best then I’m still learning and it will make my game better.”

Emakhu found out he was starting against QPR on the day of the game.

“We came in that the morning and had the meeting – I saw my name on the board,” he said. “It was game head on from there.

“The gaffer told me what he expected from me but, most importantly, he also emphasised about going out and enjoying it – go out and show how good you are.

“He gave me that bit of freedom and confidence that I could go on the pitch and just be myself.”

Emakhu assisted Romain Esse on the opening day of the season at Middlesbrough and scored his first goal in English football against Norwich in August – but it is the reverse fixture against the Canaries that is his favourite match since joining the South Londoners.

“Simply because it had a bit of everything,” said Emakhu, who signed for Millwall a year ago for an undisclosed fee.

“The atmosphere that was created at The Den that evening was unbelievable. I wanted to start it all over again when it finished, because the atmosphere was that good.

“The fans were really good and the team were unbelievable – we ground it out.

“We played some good football and defended well when we had to and I played a big part as we got the three points.”

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