It’s been said that we’re in sort of a golden age for Tottenham Hotspur’s academy. Harry Kane is the crown jewel, but we’ve also seen Harry Winks come through and become a regular player in the first team. Players like Cameron Carter-Vickers and Josh Onomah have been getting regular first team football on loan. Go a little bit further down the academy there are some potential gems in need of a bit of polish such as Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Anthony Georgiou, Kaziah Sterling, and Oliver Skipp.
One of the academy players that has broken out this season is striker Reo Griffiths, who has scored 21 goals thus far for Tottenham’s U18s. We ranked him as an honorable mention in this past summer’s Tottenham Academy Rankings. According to ESPN, Griffiths, who only recently moved up to striker, has been turning heads for people looking for the “next Harry Kane.” Now he’s caught the eye of Paul Mitchell, who is interested in bringing him to his new club, RB Leipzig.
German teams have been trying to snatch up the next generation of English talent after seeing England’s youth teams dominate in international competitions this past summer. ESPN notes that Ademola Lookman, Jadon Sancho, Reese Oxford, and Kaylen Hinds have all left their English clubs for Germany, in hopes of securing first team football.
Mitchell was Mauricio Pochettino’s director of recruitment during his first couple of years at Spurs, and so it’s no wonder he’s looking at Spurs’ youngsters. Griffiths is having a really good season with the U18s, and Mitchell is no doubt using his insider information to try and poach a player who is showing signs of being a diamond in the rough.
Griffiths is still only 17, and he needs a little work yet to know whether he’s Premier League quality. Currently he has Kaziah Sterling ahead of him in the academy pecking order, but Reo’s getting noticed more among those who are closely tracking Spurs’ academy.
If Griffiths is as promising as they say, it doesn’t seem very smart to sell him just in case he does turn out to be Kane 2.0. A loan to Leipzig wouldn’t be a bad idea at all -- he’d (hopefully) get first team minutes in a different league, and would develop as a player. But if Spurs want to continue to use their academy to unearth potential superstars like Kane, that means resisting overtures from other clubs who are trying to pick off their talent while they’re still super young and cheap.
Not every academy player will turn out to be a superstar. Marcus Edwards’ star seems to be waning as he sits unused on loan at Norwich City, for example. That’s the risk you take with developing young players. The other part of that, however, is not letting go of your potential stars if they generate a lot of buzz early. It seems like it’d be worth doing everything possible to keep ahold of Reo, at least in the short to medium term.