West Ham’s academy boss Terry Westley did not hold back after Domingos Quina signed his first professional contract with the club in November last year.
“[The deal] shows how far we have come in recent years, attracting the very best talent, not only just in England but in Europe, he’s that good,” Westley told the club’s official website of the 17-year-old.
“He’s got that star quality and for him to commit long-term to us is great news.
“I think, for a 16-year-old, to be playing every week in your U23s, and being one of the better players in the league, [its great]. I haven’t seen any players in our league who can dominate a game like he can and break the lines and go past people like he can.”
One year on, however, Quina’s future at the London Stadium is already coming into question. The Mail reported on Monday that scouts from a number of Premier League clubs were in attendance to watch the former Benfica and Chelsea youngster in action for Portugal’s Under-19s against Spain.
And you can surely expect that Everton will be among them. After all, there does not appear to be a young talent in the country right now that The Toffees are not following as last season’s Premier League 2 winners aim to put together the most exciting youth side in the country.
Quina, who is yet to make his senior league debut, would be the jewel in the crown of an academy that gave rise to Tom Davies and Mason Holgate last season alone.
Understandably, West Ham would be loath to lose one of Europe’s most exciting young players. But the days of Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe appear to be over – Declan Rice is the only academy graduate to have made an impact in the first team in recent times with Reece Oxford and Toni Martinez being held back, must to the fans’ frustrations.
Everton, however, appear to have no fear about throwing youngsters in at the deep end – epitomised by the sudden emergence of 19-year-old Beni Baningime.
Perhaps Quina would be better off on Merseyside.