Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough has expressed his delight at snapping up Ilkeston FC’s teenage prospect Che Adams.
The 18-year-old has set the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League alight this season with some sizzling displays that have attracted huge numbers of scouts to Robins matches.
That has now culminated in Nigel Clough winning the battle to get Adams’ signature for what the two clubs have agreed will be an undisclosed fee but which is believed to be a six-figure sum with the addition of a sell-on clause which will see Ilkeston benefit from any future transfer fee Adams may command.
The transfer is still to be passed by the Football League, and while Clough admitted it may take time for Adams to show his potential, the manager added ‘you never know.’
“I’m delighted he’s on board,” said Clough. “Raw is the word but he’s got potential. He’s quick and has had a good grounding at Ilkeston.
“We’ll wait and see how far away he is from the first team. We’re not expecting too much, too soon but you never know with these lads.”
Robins boss Kevin Wilson, who in also overseeing the club’s academy has brought Adams through the ranks from 16 years of age, said: “It’s a relief that it has finally been sorted because there’s no doubt that all the activity and speculation has been a disruptive influence around the place.
“But I’m absolutely delighted for Che and we all wish him well in his future career. He’s a great advert for our Academy scheme. He’s worked hard for this chance and we’ll watch his progress with great interest.”
Ilkeston FC chairman Dave Mantle said numerous offers had been rejected for Adams but that a deal for his services was always inevitable:
He said: “It would have been very wrong of us to stand in the way of Che but we were adamant that he would only leave when the deal was right for him and the club.
“It’s been fantastic watching him develop during his time in the Academy and our coaching staff deserve enormous credit for getting him to this stage.”
Wilson added: “Che’s going to be a hard act to follow - of course he is - but I believe we have two or three players in our development squad who will be capable of filling the gap in time.
“It hasn’t come as any surprise to lose him. It was always going to happen and we have to brace ourselves against the possibility of losing others because there’s a lot of interest in our young players.
“It’s an inevitable consequence when you operate a successful Academy. We’ve already seen Tyrell Waite and Ryan Wilson graduate from the Academy to go ‘higher’, now Che, and it proves that we have become an excellent stepping-stone into professional football.”