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Disappointing news as promising youngster goes to City
Monday, 13th Nov 2023 22:31 by Tim Whelan

There has been much wailing online about the departure of 15 year-old Finley Gorman, 15, who has decided to go to Manchester City.

Gorman is an attacking midfielder, and while he was still only 14 he made his England Under-16s debut and also broke the record for the youngest player to score twice in a Premier League Under-18 game.

When clips of his outrageous talent began to appear on YouTube earlier this year we knew we had a great talent on our hands, but news travels fast in this day and age, and those same clips were always going to attract unwanted attention from clubs with much deeper pockets than ours. Leeds tried to persuade him to stay at our excellent academy, but sadly to no avail.

And as we are not allowed to offer him a first professional contract until he turns 17, there is unfortunately nothing we can do to stop him from taking his talents elsewhere if he, or more likely his parents, decide that the grass might be greener on the other side of the Pennines. (And it probably is, because they get more rain than we do).

Phil Hay has reported in the Athletic that he is yet to sign on the dotted line, but it is expected that the move will be completed in the near future. City will need to pay a fee as compensation for his development so far, and the one consolation is that the two clubs have agreed a British record for a player of such a tender age, believed to be in excess of a million pounds.

And it’s the size of that fee that has led to a bit of a debate on social media. Some fans think that we may as well take the money now as there is no guarantee that his career will develop as he hopes. They have mentioned the fees we got for the likes of Woods and Taiwo, who went to the Premier League during our last spell in the Championship, but ultimately ended up in the lower divisions.

He will certainly need to fill out a bit as he gets older, as at the moment he looks like a gust of wind will blow him over, but it does seem highly likely that the lad is destined for the very top. So instead of having that million pounds now we could have had the benefit of a couple of years of stellar performances from him, before picking up a much bigger fee as he approached the peak of his career.

Our current first team squad may include a couple of recent academy products who are grumbling about the lack of game time, but he would surely stand a better chance of first team action at Elland Road rather than competing with City’s expensively assembled squad of international superstars. They might have Phil Foden as proof that the very best young players will still break through regardless, but what are the chances of anyone else from their youth side getting a look in?

Time will tell if the move works out for him, but it's not as if he needs to go anywhere else to get some decent coaching. The next of our talents to have the vultures circling will undoubtedly be Harry Gray, the younger brother of Archie, and supposedly an even brighter prospect. But surely the family connections will keep him out of the clutches of the ‘big six’. Can’t they?


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