Years on from John Bostock’s acrimonious departure to Tottenham Hotspur from Crystal Palace, it looks as though the Eagles may face a similar issue with Liverpool over the future of highly-rated teenage midfielder Joseph Hungbo.
According to this piece in London News Online, the youngster is attracting real interest from the Reds following a spell of fine form for Palace, leaving the club hoping that Jurgen Klopp and his scouts don’t continue to pursue the lad too vigorously.
Eligible to play for both England and Nigeria, Hungbo has had England scouts watching him closely for a while too, leading to suggestions that he could be the first academy prospect in years to actually make a lasting mark on the club’s first-team once he’s eventually given a chance to impress.
With Palace’s squad now focused far more heavily on purchases from elsewhere than on our own kids, players like Hungbo are bound to be looked at by the likes of Liverpool as feasible targets, particularly when a manager like Klopp is building a reputation as a man who isn’t afraid to throw a teenager into the mix if he feels they are up to the challenge.
Whilst you can’t blame the Palace hierarchy for allowing their gaze to shift away from homegrown talent in recent years, given the desperation to retain our place in the Premier League, it does seem a shame to think that players as talented as Hungbo are being actively pursued by clubs who already reside above us in the natural food-chain.
In Wilfried Zaha, the club have a perfect example of the Palace academy’s potential but with years having passed since he, Jonathan Williams and Sean Scannell were thrust into first-team action, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is keen to see the pathway opened up a little wider in the coming months.
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