The next big thing may not be quite so happy at Tottenham Hotspur as what everyone thought. The Guardian is reporting today that teenage phenom Marcus Edwards has refused to sign a professional contract with Tottenham, and suggests that the striker might even leave on a free (with Spurs due a tribunal fee) when his schoolboy contract expires in the summer of 2017.
Edwards may not have an Afro anymore (sob), but he is, by far, the brightest star in the Tottenham academy at present. He's good. REAL good. So good that we dubbed him "Messi with an Afro" in this past summer's Tottenham prospect rankings. He's been a fixture in the England U17 setup for over a year now, and he's good enough that, reportedly, some of the biggest clubs in the world are sniffing around him, hoping to poach him from Spurs. He's a monster talent, so at some level these rumors aren't exactly a surprise.
What is slightly surprising is that Edwards might be considering jumping ship from a club that has a proven record of developing young talent into Premier League footballers at the highest level. All indications are that Spurs' coaches are absolutely giddy about Edwards' potential, and that he has the ability to be a world class striker. He's at a club on the rise that looks certain to make the Champions League next season and establish itself as a European football power, and with a manager that recognizes the potential of young English footballers. What's not to love?
But on the other hand, despite developing a number of high profile youngsters, Spurs haven't always been able to keep them in the pipeline. The club lost young Belgian winger Ismail Azzaoui to Wolfsburg earlier this year in a surprising transfer after it was revealed that he was somewhat dissatisfied with life at White Hart Lane.
David Hytner's a good journalist and is generally well clued in to Tottenham issues and rumors, but no journalist is perfect and it's very important that we not take this as gospel quite yet. Based on the article, we know that Marcus Edwards was offered a professional contract in December, and that he, as of yet, hasn't signed it.
That may mean any number of things. It could mean that he or his handlers know exactly how good his potential is and he's holding out for a bigger deal. It could mean that he has some genuine interest from a huge club that is serious about poaching him and he's tempted to move. It could mean that he's using said interest as a negotiation tactic with Spurs. It could just mean that he loves Spurs but that they haven't yet ironed out the details of his pro deal. We just don't know. Right now, everything else is just supposition.
Moreover, there seems to be some confusion as to what's actually going on with Edwards. Spurs blogger Windy seemed pretty sure that he was sticking around.
I was surprised as you all were to read @DaveHytner's piece about Marcus Edwards, as I'd been told by two people that he *had* signed.— Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) March 1, 2016
All I can say is that Spurs don't announce 17-year old players' contract situations until they have to, so now we wait.— Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) March 1, 2016
We'll know for certain when we see the retained/released list which is published by the Premier League at the end of each season. #COYS— Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) March 1, 2016
So in other words, let's not panic. Maybe there's something going on, but maybe there isn't. Let's hope he stays, because based on the small amount of match footage I've seen of him and the eyewitness accounts of his ability, Edwards has every chance to be an incredible player. Imagine him playing alongside Harry Kane in a few years. Losing him would be a kick to the gut.