This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
West Bromwich Albion are widely regarded for their conveyor belt of young emerging prospects which are given a platform to succeed within their promising academy setup, but it’s often a double-edged sword as they quickly move on to bigger and better things.
Izzy Brown was the first major case of ‘the one that got away’ when he switched the west Midlands for Stamford Bridge aged 16 – six loan spells later, and he’s still contracted to Chelsea.
More recently, the Baggies were powerless in stopping Louie Barry and Morgan Rogers leave for pastures new as heavyweights Barcelona and Manchester City poached them in the summer.
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Nathan Ferguson appears to be the next name that Albion could lose out on as the Express & Star have reported that should the 19-year-old not sign a contract extension by January, then they are likely to sell him on for profit before they lose him for free in the summer.
In a not so obvious way, this would be a good thing as it shows that the club have learned from their previous mistakes because they are planning on actually getting some sort of substantial fee for a player, even if they are losing out on a potential future superstar.
Instead, manager Slaven Bilic can delve back into the academy to find the next Ferguson and repeat a similar rise as he clearly has the golden touch for developing young players.
Next in line would surely be one of the members of that FA Youth Cup side, which managed to reach the semi-finals last season.
Aksum White is a natural left-back who has the potential to either replace Ferguson should he depart or offer further strength in a similar role.
The official West Brom website describes him as ‘strong’ and ‘hard-working,’ claiming that he also loves a tackle.
If he does indeed get a chance, the hierarchy at the club must ensure he is tied down to a long-term deal otherwise lightning will have struck for the umpteenth time in the west Midlands.