Ryan Colclough could be a very good investment for Championship giants Leeds United ahead of next season.
If Crewe Alexandra have taught us anything, it’s that there is still a lot of value and merit in developing youngsters at any club and investing in a strong academy.
Leeds United have been forced to play several youngsters this season such as Sam Byram, which suggests they could go along a similar line of thinking throughout the summer and heading into the new season.
Brian McDermott has always been a manager who has not been afraid to use younger players, it’s a cliché but he seems to be a firm believer of the saying; if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
Crewe played an entire team of players from their academy in their last game, which was good enough to help them to a 2-0 win over Walsall which suggests there are going to be a lot of teams looking at their youngsters throughout the summer window.
Colclough is an 18-year-old forward who can play as either a number nine, or slightly wider in the attack supporting another central player in that position.
His stats this season have not been prolific with 18 appearances and just one goal but to put that into context, he’s come off the bench on 13 different occasions in League Two matches.
He seems to embody a lot of the typical qualities which have been associated with Leeds United in recent seasons; bullish, strong, quick, great work ethic and very determined.
It’s impressive that he can already play different roles in the attack of a team, which makes him appealing to Leeds because of his versatility that provides McDermott with more options.
His age means Leeds won’t have to pay a massive fee because at the moment he only has an estimated market value of around the £50,000 mark but the magnitude of the club could cause that fee to become much higher.
Nick Powell, a player of similar type and position, also had a low market value but because Manchester United were buying him, that fee went all the way up to £1.5 million.
This is the sort of investment, although on a much lower scale, that Leeds are going to have to look at this summer, because they are not in a position to buy their way back into the Premier League.
If they can build a team based around younger players, they have the experience to inject into the side which eradicates the chance of silly mistakes and will allow those players to rapidly improve with consistent Championship football.
There is no reason Colclough should not be part of Leeds’ squad next season and they are in as good a position as anyone else in terms of the football league sides that are sniffing around him, sounding out Crewe over a possible move.
Worth the investment?
image: © Chris Robertshaw