According to reports from The Sun, Premier League side Burnley are interested in launching a £9m move for Middlesbrough defender Nathan Wood in the January transfer window.
The Clarets were interested in the highly-rated defender in the summer but failed in their bid to lure him to Turf Moor away from the Riverside Stadium.
17-year-old Wood became Boro’s youngest ever player when he featured against Notts County in the Carabao Cup last season – the centre-half has made a handful of appearances for the Teesside club in cup competitions.
Although he is yet to make a single appearance in the Championship, he is clearly a player with a huge amount of potential, so Boro would have a real headache on their hands if Burnley step up their interest with a formal bid in January.
Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton are also said to be tracking the centre-half, who has represented England at under-18 level, so here, we take a look at two pros and two cons to Boro finalising this potential big-money sale…
Pro 1: The funds
Ultimately, receiving £9m for a player who is yet to make a single league appearance for the club, regardless of his potential, is fantastic business by Middlesbrough.
Most Championship clubs would entertain bids of that region for in-form strikers or talented wingers, so if Boro could include a couple of clauses in the deal, then it would terrific business.
Wood may go onto be a real star in the future, but receiving nearly £10m for a player who has made just four first-team appearances would give Woodgate a real opportunity to bring in some quality players in January.
Pro 2: He wouldn’t be too big of a loss
Of course, if Wood was a player who played week in, week out for Boro, then the funds generated from his sale would likely go towards finding his replacement.
But the 17-year-old is yet to make an impact under Woodgate at all – he has made just four senior appearances for the club and is yet to feature in the Championship thus far.
Dael Fry, George Friend, Daniel Ayala and Ryan Shotton are all way ahead of him in the pecking order, and they would not be losing a key part of their squad if he did make the move to Turf Moor.
Con 1: Potential fan uproar
When a homegrown player is sold on by a club at the first sight of pound signs, fans tend to become annoyed. They develop a real affinity with the player, who they immediately call “one of their own” when they first make a breakthrough into the first-team.
This is likely to be the case for Middlesbrough fans if Wood left for Burnley – he’s yet to be given a chance by Woodgate, and selling him on for a profit could anger them.
After seeing former captain Ben Gibson move to Burnley and become surplus to requirements under Sean Dyche, letting them sign Wood could also frustrate them even more.
After a slow start to the season, the club need all the support they can get, whereas this would be a risky move.
Con 2: The message generated
Boro have plenty of talented youngsters coming through the ranks at the Riverside Stadium, all of whom will be looking to make a name for themselves at their boyhood club.
But if Wood, a player who is yet to make a single league appearance for the club, is sold to a Premier League side for millions, then what message does that generate?
Boro cannot afford to become a stepping stone for young players and make themselves known as a “selling club” – they need to be sustainable for the future and develop their own players.