Haydon Roberts: The 2020 transfer that could put Sheffield Wednesday ahead of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Swansea City in battle for Brighton starlet

Sheffield Wednesday may well hold an ace card in the battle to seal the January loan signing of former England youth international Haydon Roberts from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 5:26 pm

The highly-rated 19-year-old, who spent time in League One last season when he was borrowed by Rochdale, is believed to also be of interest to Championship sides including Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Swansea City.

And while it may seem a tall order for the Owls to beat three second tier sides to the signature of the England youth international, they do have the trump card of Darren Moore’s previous dealings with the Seagulls.

Moore is understood to have a good working relationship with Brighton figures including academy boss John Morling and – most importantly – technical director Dan Ashworth.

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Brighton youngster Taylor Richards enjoyed a stellar season under Darren Moore at Doncaster Rovers.

Though there was no direct crossover period, Ashworth and Moore both held important roles at West Brom’s academy and shared a number of mutual colleagues having missed one another only by a matter of months.

These Brighton figures are also said to have been impressed by the Wednesday manager’s previous handling of his former player Taylor Richards, a former Manchester City youngster who had arrived at the south coast club for around £2.5m in 2019.

Richards had been seen as a prospect of raw ability but of testing attitude. Indeed, it was felt he was at a crossroads in his young career in the summer of 2020, with Richards himself later commenting that he was concerned no club would be willing to take a chance on him.

But he quickly found a home with Moore at Doncaster Rovers.

Darren Moore earned trust from Brighton and Hove Albion in his handling of Taylor Richards during his time at Doncaster Rovers.

He scored 11 goals and bagged five assists in 48 Rovers games and has gone from strength to strength, since making two Premier League appearances before heading back out on loan to Championship Birmingham City earlier this week.

Moore retains a steadfast reputation in academy football, one built over nearly a decade and best utilised at Doncaster when loan players from Category One academies were put at the very centre of his plans at the club.

Roberts has been identified as a target as Moore hopes to bolster his injury-hit squad with two defenders in this window.