According to the Sun On Sunday (07/10/18; pg 60), Manchester United are looking into the signing of Sunderland talent Adam Richardson. The report claims that the 15-year-old stopper, an England youth international, has been earmarked as a potential future star by United who are willing to pay £500,000 to bring him in.
Sunderland must ensure they fight off this interest. Firstly, for the player’s sake. Sunderland are producing some excellent talent at the Academy of Light and it appears youth is a vital part of the future planning for the revamped Sunderland.
Richardson only needs to look at the current England number one to realise what coming through the ranks at Sunderland could do for him.
Jordan Pickford left Sunderland in a £30 million deal last summer. Now considered one of the best in the Premier League, it was staying at Sunderland until 23-years-old that helped him achieve such heights.
Joining Manchester United would be a mistake, as Richardson would fall into the pitfalls that come with joining a big club’s youth system – especially as a goalkeeper.
Sunderland also need to stop the rut regarding youngsters leaving. In July, they lost Sam Greenwood to Arsenal. There are also reports that midfielder Luca Stephenson will be joining Liverpool once he turns 16. Compared to Jordan Henderson, Sunderland fans may not get to see him in red-and-white stripes.
Sunderland need to maintain a strong academy and bring players of such talent into the first-team, especially now they are operating in the lower leagues.
Keeping Richardson would hopefully end the raid on their young talent and send a message that they will not just watch their young talent leave.
Hopefully, sense prevails. At just 15, Richardson should remain where he is and develop under the great facilities available on Wearside. Who knows? He could be their next Pickford.