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Kevin Phillips expresses concern over West Brom situation as Chelsea transfer links emerge to player

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Kevin Phillips is worried that West Bromwich Albion are going to continue to struggle to keep hold of their top young talents after another teenager was linked with a Premier League move recently.

Down the years the Baggies have lost talents to the upper reaches of football – Izzy Brown departed for Chelsea in 2013, Yan Dhanda signed for Liverpool in the same year and more recently Louie Barry was snapped up by Barcelona.

Last season’s academy Player of the Year Tim Iroegbunam moved to Aston Villa over the summer and in the last few months striker Reyes Cleary has been linked with a switch to Germany, with Chelsea also interested.

Quiz: Do you know what club these 28 ex-West Brom players are playing at now?

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Conor Gallagher

The Champions League holders are also sniffing round another Baggies teenager according to Football Insider, with it being reported last week that Leonardo Cardoso is wanted by the Blues.

West Brom are clearly good at producing talented youngsters but not many of them are sticking around to make it into the first-team, and Phillips believes that his former club faces a big challenge to stop players heads being turned by such interest.

“It’s always worrying but you can look at it two ways,” Phillips told West Brom News.

It’s great you’ve got a young player being linked with clubs like Chelsea. From the club’s point of view, you don’t want to lose them but from the player’s perspective, it’s great.

But at West Brom, the kid probably has more of an opportunity to play in the first-team there than he would at Chelsea.

“You just hope they don’t see him as an asset who’ll never ever get a chance and just see it as a business deal to make money.

It’s great but at the same time, it isn’t because West Brom need to keep their young players at the club and bleed them into the first-team at some point.”

The Verdict

With West Brom pretty thin on the ground right now in terms of squad numbers, you’d think that this would be a good time for some youngsters to be blooded in by Valerien Ismael but it doesn’t look to be the case.

The Frenchman is relying mainly on experience right now but wouldn’t it be good if youngsters like Cleary who are scoring for fun in the youth team are given somewhat of a chance – perhaps in the FA Cup in a few months time.

Phillips is right in the sense that the usage of academy players needs to increase at The Hawthorns as it’s something that the fans really want to see.

If they don’t have that pathway into the first-team then more and more will start to leave like Barry, Iroegbunam and others did recently and Cardoso could be the latest – although at 16 he may not even be considered as a first-team option for a few years yet.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Kevin Phillips expresses concern over West Brom situation as Chelsea transfer links emerge to player

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