The transfer of English teenager Dale Jennings from Tranmere to Bayern Munich has been by far the most surprising deal of the summer. Jennings’ jump from League One to the former European Champions is a fantastic move for the striker but have the Premier League big boys missed a trick in letting Jennings move abroad?
By moving to Bayern Munich Jennings has seemingly missed a step of a usual aspiring footballer’s development. Jennings impressed with Tranmere last season in only his first senior campaign. Such form would normally earn the player a move to the Premier League or a top Championship side where they can continue their development before hopefully forging a successful international career and possibly a move to a top European club. But have Bayern simply jumped the gun or have the Premier League missed out on one of England’s best up-and-coming talents?
The 18-year-old played 32 times for Tranmere last season, scoring six goals. It is not a fantastic goal record for a striker in the lower leagues but impressive after you consider it was Jennings first year as a first-team regular. Apart from Bayern, the only other team reported to be strongly interested was West Ham. But if the German side have seen enough in Jennings to sign the relatively inexperienced striker, why haven’t Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United been sniffing around?
Jennings left Liverpool’s academy age 15 and then failed to get into the youth set-ups at Everton and Derby. These rejections meant he ended up at Tranmere where the first team opportunities last season gave him a chance to mature and develop his talent week on week. Although the fee is officially undisclosed it is thought to be around £1.7million, a bargain if Jenning’s potential is matched in the years to come. Teams across the Premier League have been focusing on developing young English talents yet they have let one slip away without a fight.
But maybe a move abroad to a well respected club like Bayern is just what the young striker and England need. There is very little chance Jennings will figure at all for the first team next season, he is more likely to end up in their youth ranks. But Bayern have a history of building world class talents through such routes (previous graduates include current German internationals Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller). Jennings can also take heart from Owen Hargreaves. Whilst the former Manchester United midfielder is now without a club, he emerged through Bayern’s youth ranks and enjoyed a successful spell with Bayern which included Bundesliga and Champions League success.
But maybe Bayern have taken too much of a risk with Jennings? His goal record in his first season isn’t prolific and he is yet to represent England at any level.
However Jennings does at Bayern, I wouldn’t expect to hear his name in the English press for a while whilst he tries to forge a career at Bayern. But if he does repay the faith the Germans have shown in bringing him to the Allianz Arena, then the Premier League big boys may end up kicking themselves for missing out on a potential England star of the future.
If you want to read more of my bite size, 160 character views and thoughts follow me on Twitter @jennyk5