West Brom may have splashed the cash on first-team players in recent years, but if there’s one shortcoming that the Baggies have it’s hanging onto their youth players.
It’s been a common thing for top clubs to poach their academy players and it’s been going on for years, with the likes of Izzy Brown and Jerome Sinclair departing for pastures new years ago.
More recent years has seen the likes of Louie Barry and last year’s academy Player of the Year Tim Iroegbunam leave for Barcelona and Aston Villa respectively, and the next talent to potentially be poached is Leonardo Cardoso.
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The 16-year-old midfielder is said to be wanted by Premier League giants and UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea, per Football Insider, and he would be easy pickings for the Blues as he’s yet to commit to a professional contract with Albion.
It’s an issue that is seemingly going to keep on happening and ex-England international Carlton Palmer, who started his career off at The Hawthorns, believes that the club will be powerless to stop Cardoso from moving to the London outfit.
“Especially if they’re turning around and offering the parents money and offering the boy money, ridiculous money, to go,” Palmer said on what could potentially happen to Cardoso if Chelsea come calling, per This is Futbol.
“I mean, I know youngsters who are at clubs now who are earning £5,000 a week and there are ways around it.
“If they’re not getting it, it’s going through the parents or whatever and that’s what it is. That’s the game now.”
We’ve seen the likes of Chelsea stock-pile young players before and it looks like they could be about to add another to their ranks in the near future.
Cardoso is yet to break into the Baggies under-18 team yet but he’s clearly impressing in a lower age group to be courted by a club like Thomas Tuchel’s side.
In terms of where he’s likely to see more first-team football in the next five years, you’d have to say that Cardoso would probably be better penning a scholarship deal at The Hawthorns and then seeing where he is at 18.
But some of the money like Palmer alluded to on offer for academy kids is ludicrous and it would be a shame if Cardoso was the latest to fall in line to a Premier League side and then lose his way.