After a bounceback season from the one that almost saw us relegated from the PL2, we finished a respectable 3rd. A big part of this was the funding for the team in the summer, which saw us bring in Omari Hutchinson, Cesare Casadei, Zak Sturge, Mason Burstow, and Eddie Beach – all of which played a big part in our successful season.
But I want to look forward to next season and what we might see go on in the academy over the summer. The majority of players who played a key part this season will look to progress their career, whether it be going on loan, which will likely be the case for Omari, Casadei, Burstow, Harvey Vale etc or move onto pastures new with Charlie Webster, Malik Mothersille and Alfie Gilchrist all recieving offers to leave on a permanent basis. Looking further down the age groups, Tudor Mendel-Idowu, a stand-out performer for the U18s this season, is currently in contract limbo as well as potential 2023 scholars Frankie Runham and Kiano Dyer being actively pursued by other academies. There might be a need for a few additions over the summer to balance it out.
They have been aggressive in their pursuit of players to add to the academy or signing young players for the future by already locking down the signings of talented Ecuadorian midfielder Kendry Paez, the skillful Benfica winger Diego Morreria, a Jamacian forward called Dujuan Richards and Alex Matos, a midfielder from Norwich who’s announcement is set to be made on the July 1st after a successful trial at the club. Despite this, I feel there’s potential for more signings if we move quickly, as across England players have shown a reluctance to commit to their current clubs at a scholarship level. On top of this, the players have won tournaments together as part of an extremely talented England squad that includes Shim Mhueka.
I want to talk about players you could see join us over summer. Sadly, although Mikey Moore and Ethan Nwaneri might be leaving their respective clubs, I just can’t see them joining us for various different reasons, so the first player I want to speak about is Harry Amass. Amass is a left back who currently plays at Watford but has already rejected a scholarship from them in the hopes of moving to a prem academy and has interest from both us and United. He’s a constant attacking threat will his athleticism, making him comparable to Ben Chilwell.
The next player who might join our academy is Trevan Sanusi from Birmingham. He’s a highly skillful winger who’s made the bench for Birmingham on a few occasions in order to entice him to stay. However, similarly to Amass, he has already rejected a scholarship from his current club and has significant interest from most of the top 6 clubs. He has the ability to play on both wings and beat his man with ease, making him highly desirable.
Another interesting option is Divine Mukasa from West Ham, who did not appear in West Ham’s scholar announcement, so you can only assume he’s on the move. A physically dominant presence in the midfield who has the ability to take over a game at his will featured 10 times for the West Ham U18s that absolutely stormed away with the league this season.
Another option in the midfield is Spurs talent Callum Olusesi. The teenager is highly-rated amongst his peers and has become sought-after lately with multiple clubs interested in bringing him to their academies. Olusesi has frequently played up his age group, making 14 appearances for the Spurs U18 side and made his debut in the UEFA Youth League this season alongside his good friend Mikey Moore. It would be a devastating blow for Spurs to lose either one of these players.
These are just a few players you might see us linked with over the coming weeks as new scholars get released by clubs. I am assuming there are numerous others that the club is currently monitoring with a view to bring in. I also expect them to look for opportunities to bring in players from abroad. For example, Cher Ndour – a tall, technical midfielder from Benfica whose contract expires this summer and I firmly expect them to be in a numerous club race for Croatian wonderkid Luka Vuskovic. Regardless of what happens, I’m looking forward to seeing what the partnership of Joe Shields and Joe Fraser, two of the most influential people in U.K. academy football, have in store.
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