This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
All of the talk right now at West Bromwich Albion may be surrounding the future of their academy graduate Nathan Ferguson but going under the radar is another situation that will only cause even more anger around the Hawthorns.
Time and time again, the Baggies breed through the next young starlet, only for them to depart to a bigger and better club – mostly because those in power have never taken the gamble to tie them down to a long-term deal.
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Izzy Brown, Morgan Rogers, Louie Barry, and now Ferguson. It’s an all too frequent occurrence in the west Midlands.
Albion are expected to sell Ferguson in January if a deal cannot be reached as the 19-year-old is free to leave at the end of the season.
During pre-season, manager Slaven Bilic also promoted winger Kyle Edwards to the first-team setup, and just like Ferguson, his contract is due to expire in the summer.
He may not have featured as much as his fellow graduate, but it will only take an injury or suspension for him to be handed a starting berth.
For instance, if West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini does a ‘Harvey Barnes’ with Grady Diangana this January, then Edwards is first in line to replace him.
Not that it would matter too much either, given West Brom’s reputation in producing emerging talents – Rogers and Barry never made a senior appearance in the blue and white stripes, yet Manchester City and Barcelona took a punt on them while Brown only played one game before signing for Chelsea.
Edwards has netted one goal in just five starts for the Baggies this campaign, but Bilic’s decision to hand him the armband against Fulham speaks volumes on how well thought of he is around the club.
It would be wise for sporting and technical director Luke Dowling to get his contract sorted before it becomes a problem. If they act now, then scenarios like Ferguson will stop becoming the norm.
If Dowling and co can’t learn their mistakes from what’s happened in the last six months, will they ever?