The fact that we’re starting to see more Football League and Premier League clubs taking a genuine interest in the talent the Non-League divisions have is great for English football.
In today’s transfer market, it comes as no surprise when teams spend over £30 million on young English talent who have impressed in the Football League and Premier League.
However, there have been some clubs who have rightly swooped in for British talent that won’t be breaking the bank and could still have a real impact in England’s top leagues.
1. Josh Gordon – Leicester City
Former Nantwich Town and Stafford Rangers Striker Gordon sealed his dream move to the Premier League when Leicester City came knocking at the end of the 2016/17 season.
— Josh Gordon (@Josh_Gordonn) 7 April 2017
After a successful trial period, the 22-year-old officially announced he had signed for the Premier League champions in early April and has since had a positive spell with their U23 squad. The 2017/18 season will be an exciting one for Josh, can he break into City’s first team and become another one of their Non-League diamonds?
2. Sam Hughes – Leicester City
The 20-year-old defender joins Gordon at City after he had a stellar season at Chester FC, where he picked up their fan-owned Player of the Season award and was the club’s youngest ever captain.
— Chester FC (@ChesterFC) June 9, 2017
Hughes looked like he could be joining Championship outfit Barnsley after they bid £80,000 for him in January. However, after he and Chester were patient, the 2016 Premier League champions offered £130 million for his services and his dream move was sealed.
In the space of just five years, Sam has managed to go from grassroots football to the Premier League. A remarkable achievement and sets an example to every other young hopeful.
These two both have promising futures ahead of them in the East Midlands and I’m sure the Non-League community will be keeping a watchful eye on their progression.
3. Ricky Miller – Peterborough United
Miller put pen to paper at Peterborough United at the start of May after his scorching record of 42 goals in 43 games for Dover Athletic last season.
The Peterborough-born striker was unsurprisingly voted the National League’s player of the season, so it was only a matter of time before a Football League club came calling.
The 28-year-old is a big part of Posh Chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s plans and this season looks likely to be a huge one for Miller.
4. Lewis Wing – Middlesbrough
Wing joins up with Middlesbrough U23’s after impressing at Northern League First Division side Shildon, where he scored 24 goals from midfield including this super solo effort.
We like to call this man the non-league Messi????
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) April 4, 2017
You can see why the former Premier League club signed the 22-year-old, a good year with the U23’s will more than likely lead to big things for the attacking midfielder.
5. Ethan Pinnock – Barnsley
Despite winning promotion to League Two this season, we’re including Pinnock to the list after his brilliant season unquestionably helped him to join Yorkshire club Barnsley in the Championship.
— Barnsley FC (@bfc_official) June 30, 2017
The defender made his name at Dulwich Hamlet, who are set to benefit from this transfer, when he first appeared for the south London club aged just 16. He went on to make over 200 appearances for the club before Forest Green Rovers snapped him up last season.
— Ethan Pinnock (@EasyEatss) June 30, 2017
The 24-year-old now has a real chance to push on and make a name for himself at the top end of the football pyramid.
6. Sean Raggett – Linked to West Ham & West Brom
Along with Miller, Raggett also caught the eye of other clubs whilst at Dover Athletic before making the switch to Lincoln City last summer.
The central defender was one of their most influential figures as they secured the 16/17 National League title, so much so the 23-year-old has attracted attention from Premier League clubs West Ham and West Brom, with the London club said to be in pole position.
West Ham are set to bid £120k for Sean Raggett, Lincoln City’s defender. I’m all for nicking a potentially class player from lower leagues. pic.twitter.com/QzibuHqt4e
— WHUFC Fans Corner (@WHUFCFansCorner) May 23, 2017
A £120,000 bid from The Hammers was rejected early in the summer but a bid in excess of £350,000 will automatically trigger his release clause. With bids reported to have come in from Peterborough and Oxford United too, this is a transfer to definitely watch out for during the summer as the defender is clearly rated highly by some fans.
Well if Keane is worth £30m, Sean Raggett is worth £150m. #footballbore
— Bob (@Gruffexterior) July 4, 2017