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Knight Turned Down Spurs to Join City
Saturday, 30th Jun 2018 10:34

Blues youngster Ben Knight turned down a late move from Tottenham Hotspur prior to agreeing to join Manchester City. The 16-year-old's switch to the Premier League champions is set to be confirmed in the next few days.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino himself was part of a delegation which tried to convince Knight (pictured above, front, second right) and his family that he should join them rather than City.

TWTD understands the offer Town received from the North Londoners was actually higher than the one agreed with City but Knight and his family were sold on the move to the Etihad Stadium with their interest going back a number of years.

We understand the move to City came close to going through towards the end of last season with the Blues doing everything in their power to persuade Knight and his family that he should stay at Playford Road.

The Telegraph reports that Town will receive £700,000 for Knight with further top-ups as his career progresses, however, we understand the initial figure is just over £1 million with a similar figure also quoted elsewhere when the story broke on Thursday.

Knight agreed a scholarship with Town several years ago, which was due to start in July, and also a subsequent professional deal but the Blues were ultimately powerless to hold on to the highly-rated number 10, as was the case with striker Charlie Brown when he joined Chelsea in 2016.

Former boss Mick McCarthy said at the time: “It’s just one of those things, you can’t do anything about it. You have to just make the best deal you can.”

Had Town been unable to agree a fee with City for Knight, the matter would have gone to a tribunal and the Blues may well have ended up receiving a lower figure.

Owner Marcus Evans is hugely frustrated by the loss of Knight and an academy system so heavily weighted towards the bigger clubs and we understand is set to make a statement on the move once it is formally confirmed.

As previously reported, the required permission from the Premier League for Knight to join City has been granted and it's now merely a case of details relating to the switching being tied up.

In addition to the footballing side of their academy, City, where former Blues keeper Richard Wright and ex-U23s coach Mark Kennedy both now work, offer their youngsters a full private education programme.

Tottenham’s interest in Knight comes as little surprise with the England U15 and U16 international, the nephew of former England and Essex cricketer Nick, having been one of four Blues youngsters to guest for a Spurs U15s squad at a tournament in San Diego in May 2017.

All the top Premier League clubs have eyed Cambridgeshire-based Knight during his time at Playford Road, while Borussia Dortmund and Monaco are among the overseas sides who are also said to have shown interest.

Knight is the player Town head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug referred to as "potentially the best player" he has worked with at the Supporters Club AGM last year, while academy coach Kieron Dyer once compared the diminutive youngster’s style of play to that of Argentine star Lionel Messi.

The Blues also look set to lose another promising youngster with 15-year-old Canadian Marcelo Flores, whose father Ruben is a coach at Playford Road, interesting Arsenal.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona are also among the clubs believed to have been tracking Flores.

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Dissboyitfc added 10:40 - Jun 30
Not sure if this is a good move for the lad, time will tell!

itfcjoe added 10:42 - Jun 30
Mad to think a team like Barcelona are tracking our youngsters

MoscowBlueMule added 11:00 - Jun 30
Such a shame we are unable to keep these youngsters. Of course he has to consider what’s best for his future, but i do wonder whether moving to such a large machine to be just a number is better than being a star in a small, but very well run and respected academy. The boy obviously has talent so the big move would still have come about at the age of 18-19. (We’d might be in the prem by then and be able to offer the chunky contract :) )

WirralBlue added 11:01 - Jun 30
This is wrong on so many levels. What chance do clubs like ours have when the big boys come in and effectively steal our best youngsters? I would change the rules that a player can’t move from a club until their 21st birthday unless an upfront fee of £5 million is paid. This is all about money for all of those involved.

OwainG1992 added 11:04 - Jun 30
Find this whole process so frustrating. First off I don't blame the lad one bit. If I was 16 and got an offer which may change mine and my families life it's hard to turn down. I just wish there was somewhat of us being able to just say no. It's extremely unfair on nearly all times outside of the elite and it's only going to get worse.

shefkuqi32 added 11:22 - Jun 30
It is frustrating but it doesn’t just happen to the the small clubs. Barcelona lose a lot of their young players, Pogba left Manchester United. If a player has an offer and wants to go, he can. Ultimately we just need to keep being the best we can, play the youngsters, give them a chance and show the current crop of kids they are better off staying here playing first team football.

brian_a_mul added 11:24 - Jun 30
Looking forward to what Evans has to say, i wonder if the academy ratings/audits are fixed to keep clubs such as ours, that invest in youth, at grade2. This gives big clubs power to steal best developed youngsters.
At the time, the failed audit was rediculous, im starting to see another side to this.

ArnieM added 11:40 - Jun 30
The thing is these youngsters going to the big Clubs will likely never ever play for theseclubs. They’ll disappear never to be heard of again but the Clubs have their quota of “ English homegrown” stock.

mrmorisato added 11:44 - Jun 30
This is why we must have a Category 1 Academy to safe guard our most promising young players....the sooner the better :(

BlueandTruesince82 added 12:00 - Jun 30
Been saying it for years football is broken

eMeM added 12:32 - Jun 30
@WirralBlue I agree that this is awful for us but you can't treat young players like slaves. It's up to our club to convince them to stay here. It's up to academy to make them more loyal to ITFC. It's up to Evans to offer them better conditions. Don't forget Evans have given up going for Category One status. I don't blame Knight that he wants to train with the best coaches and the best players of his age on daily basis.

PhilTWTD added 13:01 - Jun 30
Re the comments about Cat One, that wouldn’t have prevented the move from taking place and gives no safeguard on that front.

austractor added 13:15 - Jun 30
Oh well, what can you do?

Taking the positives from it, we should be proud that a player who is supposedly that good highly rated was even with us, and by the sounds of it there is another one.

AbujaBlue added 13:23 - Jun 30
I'm looking forward to the ME statement on this, as this kind of thing is really a kick in the teeth to our academy project overall.

horsehollerer added 14:21 - Jun 30
Well I suppose the good news is at least our academy is producing talented players again.

dirtydingusmagee added 14:28 - Jun 30
losing youngsters losing best seniors, losing ambition, ……… losing all hope.

casanovacrow added 15:11 - Jun 30
@PhilTWTD Would Cat One entitle us to proper compensation though? instead of agreeing derisory fees through fear of a tribunal thinking "Well they are only Cat Two" so let them pay peanuts.

jas0999 added 15:49 - Jun 30
Very frustrating system, but I’m sure Evans will be comforted with he £1M+


leftie1972 added 16:01 - Jun 30
Is anything likely to be recouped from Flores? I don’t know if it’s the same for a 15yo as a 16yo?

TheTrueBlue1878 added 16:33 - Jun 30
Credit to the club that teams like Barcelona and Man City are touting our youngsters, but on other hand the element of frustration that he never pulled on a Town first team shirt.

Cant blame the lad or their family, very hard not to be turned by life changing money as such, hpe theres more and more talent coming through that we can get into the team soon though.

Remain positive, the progression of the academy is obviously starting to really develop and will certainly benefit us as a club in the long term.

Marshalls_Mullet added 18:19 - Jun 30
Can't blame the lad but the system is wrong.

It was annoying when we knew outstanding academy products would be gone after a season. Now we don't even get to see them in a town shirt.

So much money in the game, yet the rich clubs are allowed to pick the players off for peanuts.

All very wrong.

If he appears in their first team in the prem we should get very hefty appearance fees. I doubt that will apply though, as we had no bargaining power.

TheJam added 19:18 - Jun 30
Tell him to make his mind up, and swagger off. If we ain't good enough.

dangerous30 added 19:59 - Jun 30
He clearly is not looking at getting into a first team anytime soon. Clearly he looking at money before football.

CanadianBlue added 23:50 - Jun 30
Can't blame the family for taking the quick route to money. At the end of the day, that's how business is these days and we do it ourselves.

What bugs me is the fee. Sure, it's a decent amount for an unproven lad, but could we not negotiate to have it as fee + player? There's enough in their reserve team that wouldn't mine a regular spot in a Championship team who'd be of a good quality!

Wooly added 09:16 - Jul 1
So, what’s the point of having a youth system now?

Evans keeps stating that he is piling money into the youth set up, to basically bring our young players on until a big club takes them. People wonder why fans in their thousands are being turned off from the beautiful game. Oh, and the £1 million we received for such a promising young player will probably be spent getting in an old lower league has been and paying his loan wages for a while.

Am I the only one who is starting to lose faith, what hope have we ever got???

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