Michael Gyasi Signs With Chelsea: Is 11 Years Old Too Young?

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  A new statue of former Chelsea player Peter Osgood is seen prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 3, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Michael Ballack, Florent Malouda, Yuri Zhirkov and Ramires have all been big name signings at Chelsea the last few seasons.

Today, with the exception of Ballack who has since left the club, they were joined at Stamford Bridge by Michael Gyasi.

Who is Michael Gyasi, you ask?

Well I don't suspect that many people had heard of Gyasi before today, unless you happen to follow the Northampton Town under-11s side.

Gyasi, as you can gather, is an 11 year old.

The German-born striker has spent a little over two years at Northampton Town's Centre of Excellence, during which time he impressed the Chelsea recruiting staff when playing for the under-10s against the Chelsea equivalents.

The deal is rumoured to be worth around £10,000, with the possibility of future fees depending on Gyasi's development.

Although this doesn't seem much and will help develop Northampton's youth system, we are talking about an 11 year old.

This is a boy who hasn't hit puberty yet, but is already being described as "a great finisher" by the head of Northampton's Centre of Excellence.

He now faces a great deal of pressure and I hope that he continues to enjoy his football.

Sure he is living the dream of many a schoolboy, and to Chelsea the financial outlay isn't much. But should clubs be exchanging money for a child?

This transaction is a stark reminder of how competitive the footballing world is today, but it begs the question of just how young is too young?

Nobody knows how this lad will develop physically and mentally over the next five to six years. He may not even end up wanting to play football.

It also puts lower league clubs in even more peril. 

If there most talented youngsters are being prized away before they even kick a ball on the senior team, then I worry even more so for the survival of those clubs. 

If Gyasi fulfils his potential, then Northampton have not only missed out on what he could have brought to the club on the pitch, but he also would have attracted a far, far larger transfer fee.

The dilemma clubs such as Northampton face is that they need money immediately, and can't afford to turn down what for them is a substantial amount of money. 

For Gyasi, though, in the space of 24 hours he has gone from playing for the club currently placed 90th out of 92 in England, to the team right at the top of the ladder.

I wish him all the best.


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