Like the saying goes “catch them young”. This is what Chelsea is trying to do with the attention they have been paying to 15 years old Crystal Palace’s Academy player Kian Flanagan. He isn’t even able to sign a professional contract until 2 years’ time, yet he has caught the attention of scouts from Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. He was on the pitch for few seconds last week, when his team defeated the Charlton Athletic under-21 side. His inclusion on the bench even came as a surprise to many. He was then used as a 75-minute substitution against Colchester few days afterwards. The kid, who came in from Southend in 2013 for a fee of £37,000, has progressed steadily through the club’s age-grade teams. And as the ongoing season was beginning to wind up, he was placed in the under-18.
The 15 years old midfielder is one of Crystal palace’s greatest assets, and if he remains with the club the coming season, he will be fully included into the team’s under-18 side. And his chances of getting game time with the under-21 youth team remain high, provided he can maintain his promising impressive form. He was once a target of Liverpool before he ended up in Selhurst Park. With all eyes on him, and with prospective suitors willing to pay £100,000 for his services, the south London club might have a hard time holding on to him.
Chelsea is known to be willing to snatch up promising stars as such, the story of Gael Kakuta comes to mind. Back in 2007, his deal almost caused the Blues a two-year transfer ban. Now with three major clubs at lodger heads for young Flanagan’s signature, questions have been raised if Premiership clubs should be allowed to sign under-18 year old players. As the best option for them is to allow them time, space and growth, which is always plentifully available in their parent clubs.