You can usually identify a truly special talent within his first few touches of the football. And, sure enough, it did not take West Bromwich Albion's Jonathan Leko long to prove that he is one of the most exciting young talents in the British game. Therefore, Tony Pulis admitting that he could send the 17-year-old out on loan, as reported by the Birmingham Mail, should draw a gasp from a number of Championship suitors.
The quick-footed winger made football fans across the land feel particularly decrepit when he sauntered onto the pitch against Sunderland last April, becoming the first player born in the year 1999 to set foot in the Premier League, but after a number of fine cameos, Leko has been restricted to just six substitute appearances this season.
However, he would surely find game time easier to come by in the second tier where his rapid acceleration, freestyle spirit and surprisingly efficient end product could prove rather handy. Particularly to Derby County.
The Rams' goal-scoring problems are well documented but, beyond their rather profligate strikers, Steve McClaren’s wingers have under-performed, too.
Johnny Russell, with one goal in 21 appearances, has been linked with a move away, as have Abdoul Camara and Ikechi Anya.
However, with Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce talking up the importance of Bakary Sako, the former Wolves ace who, according to the Derby Telegraph, was one of the Rams' top targets, Leko’s availability on the market could prove rather tempting to McClaren.
With Tom Ince flying on the opposite flank, the addition of Leko’s pace and trickery could provide a much-needed extra dimension to Derby’s attack.