If you believed the hype from the Championship last season, there were only two bright young things worth talking about.
One was Wilfried Zaha – on his way to Manchester United but not before inspiring Crystal Palace to play-off success – and the other was Tom Ince – the Young Player of the Year after 18 goals and 14 assists for Blackpool.
But there is another player who, at just 19, has already been linked with Norwich, Swansea and most recently Everton, and who has all the attributes to be every bit as good as his more celebrated peers.
Nathan Redmond doesn’t have the statistics of either Ince or Zaha. Looking solely at his two goals and six assists last season, it is clear both rivals had considerably more productive campaigns than he did.
And yet watching Redmond it is impossible not to think he is destined for great things. The Birmingham City winger has raw but innate talent. In short, he is a spark with the ability to make anything happen.
And with it now being reported that the player has his heart set on a move to Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez could be about to get his hands on one of English football’s most exciting young players.
It is believed that Birmingham have already accepted £2million offers from both Norwich and Swansea for the England Under-21 player. And if that is the price Everton need to pay, they would be insane not to. Not foolish…but absolutely insane.
In years to come, Redmond’s transfer will go down as one of the bargains of the decade. And no, there is no hyperbole here. At least that isn’t my intention.
But sometimes when you watch a player you see glimpses of his future – of how good he will be when he realises his potential. Redmond is one of those players.
Should Ince opt to join Cardiff City, all three young men should be in the Premier League next season. And while Ince and Zaha are likely to be played straight away, Redmond may have to bide his time.
He may not outshine those other members of his generation in the short term. But in years to come, under the coaching of Martinez and in the surroundings of a club that prizes its youth, don’t be surprised if he is up there with the best of them.
Would Everton fans like Redmond at their club? And Birmingham fans, how good can the winger ultimately be?
image: © fabiopao