Fulham’s 17-year old star Ryan Sessegnon has been attracting all kinds of attention for the past year or so, and perhaps no club has wanted him more than Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs have been linked to the teenager for over a year now, and very nearly nabbed him from the Cottagers for a song before he signed his first professional contract at Craven Cottage last summer.
His rapidly rising price tag hasn’t discouraged Spurs from their interest, and there were even rumors earlier that Spurs and Fulham had an informal deal in place to send Sessegnon to north London this summer. That may not be the case anymore. Fulham are red-hot in the Championship and have just climbed into second place, one of two automatic promotion slots. The London Evening Standard now suggest that if Fulham manage to promote back to the Premier League, either automatically or through the promotion playoff, they will want to hold on to their star player and will rebuff any approaches for Sessegnon.
Sessegnon is a remarkable player. He came through the Fulham academy and cracked the first team last season as a 16-year old left back. Since then he’s been moving up the pitch and playing more as a left winger (similar to the development of Gareth Bale). He’s Fulham’s leading scorer this season with 14 league goals and has the makings of a generational talent for England. He’s not going to stay at Fulham forever, but he’s almost certain to be a star, and he would make a Premier League-bound Fulham better.
If you haven’t been following the Championship at all this season, you should start paying attention. Wolverhampton, under Portuguese manager Nuno, looks poised to win the league, but the next six positions are fluid and exciting. Only five points separate Millwall, currently in sixth, from Preston, in 11th. Aston Villa also look likely to make the playoffs, the first time since they were relegated in 2016. Fulham, meanwhile, is unbeaten in their last 20 matches and has rocketed up to second place ahead of Cardiff with four games to go, though the Bluebirds have a game in hand.
So while Fulham are on a tear, there’s still a decent chance that they’ll have to fight their way through the promotion playoffs to get back to the Premier League. And if you believe the Standard, the only way Spurs will have a chance to sign Sess (who would command a huge transfer fee even if he is sold) is if they slip up and finish behind Cardiff, and then flame out in the playoff.
I don’t know how realistic it is to assume that Spurs would be able to sign Sessegnon permanently even under the best case scenario — he’s linked with a host of other teams including both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, and PSG. But over the next few weeks you’ll want to keep one eye on the Football League as that could determine whether Tottenham has any chance at all.