In the summer of 2015, Southampton FC accumulated £71m by selling three of their brightest homegrown prospects. Since that window, 7 further academy graduates have been sold, but less than £700k raised. Have the previous 10 years been a purple patch of talent? Is championing youth still a pillar of ‘The Southampton Way’? We look at the 4 strongest prospects coming through today at Saints’ acclaimed Staplewood academy.
4. Yan Valery: Southampton snapped up the Parisian right back from Stade Rennais as a 15-year-old. This followed an impressive display against Arsenal’s U16’s at a youth tournament in France, beating off interest from Manchester City and Arsenal themselves. The full-back has moulded his game around Kyle Walker, combining strength and pace, while loving to get forward and fire crosses into the box. The French youth international has all the tools to become the perfect modern day full back.
3. Kornelius Hansen : Hansen joined Saints from Strømgodset at the beginning of the summer window and has already asserted himself as one of the top talents coming through at Staplewood. The 16-year-old Norwegian CAM has become a fixture in the Southampton U18 side, scoring twice already this season. Hansen played alongside Real Madrid’s wonderkid Martin Ødegaard at Strømgodset and his brother Kristoffer also plays football, in the Norwegian First Divison.
2. Christoph Klarer: The Austrian youth international joined Southampton from Rapid Wien in the summer of 2016, where he was coached by his father in the Austrian Giant’s U16 side. Klarer had a number of options to chose from when he decided to leave Vienna for one of Europe’s top leagues but was attracted to Southampton because of their history of developing players. The 6ft 4 centre-half prides himself on being very physical and good with the ball at his feet.
1. Kameron Ledwidge: A new face at Southampton’s Staplewood campus, having joined the club’s academy in June of this year, the Republic of Ireland under-17 international ticks all of the boxes for the modern attacking left-back. Strong, athletic and quick across the ground, he is comfortable coming forward with the ball at this feet. Formerly of St Kevin’s Boys in his native Dublin, he starred for his country in last season’s Victory Shield. He can also play in central defence and his versatility is considered as a further plus point.