Why Burnley should go all out for teenage prospect Nathan Wood
According to The Sun, Burnley are mulling over a move for highly-rated Middlesbrough teenager Nathan Wood, with the report claiming that Clarets boss Sean Dyche is keen to bring the centre-back to Turf Moor in January.
The same report adds that Burnley are set to make a renewed attempt to sign the England U-18 international in January after failing with a bid in the summer transfer window, although they are likely to face stiff competition in the race to land the teenager’s signature.
As well as the Clarets, a number of other Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton are also circling around like sharks to nab the youngster away from Teesside.
Nathan Wood, who is the son of former Crystal Palace defender Dean Gordon, played for non-league outfit Stockton Town earlier in his career before joining Boro are the youth level back in 2015.
After signing his first professional contract, the centre-back made his senior professional debut against Notts County in the EFL Cup last season, becoming Middlesbrough’s youngest-ever player to make a professional appearance at 16 years and 72 days.
Wood made a total of 3 appearances in the previous campaign, with all his involvement coming in the EFL Cup fixtures. Although he is yet to play a game in the Championship thus far, the 17-year-old featured in the League Cup defeat at the hands of Crewe Alexandra.
Regarded as a player with a mountain of potential, the starlet has been widely tipped to enjoy a breakthrough this term in the Championship. However, with so many clubs weighing up moves for him, he might as well end up in the Premier League very early in his career.
To put things into perspective, Burnley are currently pretty well-stocked in their options at the heart of the defence but they should look at Nathan Wood as someone who could possibly go on and hit great heights in the future.
The proposed £9 million fee looks massive for someone who hasn’t yet played a game in the Championship but they should go ahead with their interest regardless if they have really scouted the player in detail.
As evident from their transfer policy in the recent past, Burnley have always been ready to pounce on burgeoning homegrown talents, a clear indication of Sean Dyche’s preference to build a team around proven British players.
Such a stance has paid the dividends and, while the Clarets eventually need to start shifting their focus towards players in the other leagues in order to progress in the right direction, they should continue their homegrown recruitment drive to add more quality to their ranks.
Still only 17, Wood is very young for a centre-back and he would probably only link up with the U-23 side at Turf Moor even if a move does materialize in January.
He is exceptionally quick and sharp for a centre-back but he still probably needs to add a lot more to his game if he is serious about making an impression in the Premier League.
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However, given his talent and potential, the Clarets can look forward to him making the step up to the senior ranks in due course of time.
That said, Burnley should go all out in their pursuit of the 17-year-old Middlesbrough prodigy in January.