Slaven Bilic is furious that West Brom have lost yet another young player in Nathan Ferguson with the young full-back set to quit The Hawthorns when his contract expires this month.
Ferguson, 19, emerged as one of the best young talents at the Baggies this season but amid interest from Crystal Palace, he has opted to walk out on the club that handed him his chance to shine in professional football.
He’s not the first promising youngster to leave with West Brom being powerless to resist advances of top-flight clubs.
Louie Barry quit to join Barcelona in the summer while Morgan Rogers was snapped up by Manchester City in a deal worth £4million.
West Brom are yet to receive any of the money they are owed from Barcelona for Barry’s transfer, even though the teenager has since been snapped up by Aston Villa after failing in Spain.
Bilic has called on football’s governing bodies to sort out the issue which hamstrings clubs like West Brom when it comes to keeping hold of young talents they cannot tie down to long-term contracts.
“Unfortunately, those authorities – UEFA, FIFA – they don’t think a lot about the smaller clubs, they prefer to take care of the big, giant club,” Bilic told Sky Sports.
“You are investing your time and knowledge in that player, and then – especially if they go abroad – they can go basically for nothing.
“Why should a club have a youth academy if you are not guaranteed you are going to be able to keep that player, for a minimum of two or three years? I expect him [Ferguson] to play for England, and then we are talking about £20-30m that clubs like us are depending on.
“After the coronavirus, these clubs will have to produce their own players because they won’t be able to buy players. They [UEFA] are saying, ‘yes, produce the players, salary cap this and that, Financial Fair Play’.
“It’s all set up; why? To produce the players. You can’t just buy them, you must produce them.
“Unfortunately it is just ‘blah, blah, blah’ and it is not happening, because what’s the point in producing the players if you are just producing them for someone else?”
Sky Sports add on their website that they have approached UEFA and Crystal Palace for a comment on the issue but neither have responded.
It really is a huge issue for teams like West Brom.
The Black Country club boasts a really good academy set-up and most clubs are envious of the facilities, coaching staff and the results it has.
However West Brom’s academy just seems to benefit other clubs more than it does the Baggies.
Why should the club continue to pay for an academy and invest in young players, only for them to be signed by clubs with more financial might?
The fact that Barca haven’t yet paid for Barry is simply embarrassing and the fact UEFA aren’t even bothered just shows how little they care for teams like West Brom.
It will take more than one club from the West Midlands to make a change but clubs like us outnumber the big guns that UEFA and FIFA do their best to appease.
A change is needed.
In other West Brom news, Don Goodman has been raving about Albion’s “unsung hero”.