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Ryan Sessegnon of Fulham took the Premier League clubs by storm last year when he earned a regular status for the Championship outfit at the age of only 16. Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham boss, promoted him from club’s academy ranks and handed him a first-team debut on 9th August 2016 in an EFL Cup tie against Leyton Orient and introduced him in a Championship outing against Leeds United a week later. He scored his first goal for the club in the following game against Cardiff City, thus becoming the first ever 21st century-born player to score in English leagues.
The 17-year-old English youth international left-back was extensively scouted by a host of top Premier League outfits including Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. The player, however, was 16 last year and was not eligible to sign a professional contract with Fulham as per the regulations of English Football Association. He could have moved away from Fulham but opted to stay in the Championship and signed a three-year deal with the Cottagers following his 17th birthday back on May 18th.
He said earlier in June,
“Last season I got a lot of opportunities so I want to continue that. When you are young you just want to play as many games as you can.”
The player explained the reason for extending his stay at Craven Cottage. He appeared 30 times altogether the last term, scored 7 goals and played a key role in earning a ‘top six’ finish (though Fulham failed to grab a promotion after being defeated by Reading in the playoffs). Also, he has been featuring regularly for Fulham this season as well and has already netted once in 8 outings across all competitions. Despite being 17, Sessegnon has shown immense maturity defensively and has been a constant threat in the attack with his overlapping runs, crossing skills, cut-ins and strong dribbling attributes.
Liverpool expressed strong desire to bring him in during summer transfer window but ended their pursuit following the player’s lack of interest and opted to sign Andrew Robertson who had an imposing campaign with relegated Hull City last term. But Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is still keen to add him to his squad and is reportedly considering a move in January after failing with a £25m bid back in the summer. Sessegnon is being compared to Gareth Bale for his expressiveness down the left flank and Fulham are expected to demand around £50m for their prized asset.
Tottenham Hotspur already have two top-notch left-backs namely Danny Rose and Ben Davies. Rose is usually the first-choice option but his injury-enforced absence has sidelined him for months and his comments regarding club’s wage structure and transfer activity resulted in stern criticism from his Argentine gaffer. Although Pochettino accepted Rose’s apology later, doesn’t fancy him in his long term plans and has already promoted Davies as a first-team regular. The Welshman too has been in sensational form for the North Londoners and Rose will find it extremely difficult to regain his place under current circumstances.
Sessegnon might not be able to receive regular game-time that he is now enjoying with Fulham, but joining Tottenham will be a huge forward step in his career as Spurs are now a top European force with a prodigious manager who trusts his youth. Pochettino will provide him with enough opportunities to shine for this prestigious football club.