Crystal Palace set to swoop for Birmingham City starlet2 min read
Although no longer a club with a long tenure in the Premier League, Birmingham City has long been a club with a strong academy setup. The Blues have produced numerous big-name stars over the years, with the most prevalent being Jude Bellingham. However, the City academy has also become a hunting ground for clubs looking to poach talent before they truly break onto the scene. One player being heavily linked with an exit from the Blues academy is that of Jordan James.
James, 17, is being linked not only with Palace but with the likes of Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Southampton. Palace will be in a battle to land the precocious youngster, who has shown excellent talent in the first-team. Lee Bowyer, the Birmingham coach, has given the teenager ample game time this year. He made his debut in November, and has been around the first-team ever since. Despite signing a long-term deal until 2024, though, it is believed that he could be prised away from the Midlands this summer.
The chance that he leaves Birmingham is rated as higher than some would have expected. The funds being discussed could be used to help the club transform itself of the pitch, as the Bellingham money did. At the same time, it would also give City another headache in that they have lost yet another young star before they have truly become established in the first-team picture.
City are braced to lose the player, with Palace leading the way for clubs outside of the Midlands. It is believed that a chance to move to Wolves – and thus stay closer by to his hometown – could appeal to the player. That being said, Palace are regarded as one of the frontrunners for his signature.
James set to have choice of suitors
Palace will need to hope that their record of giving youth opportunities pays off. Several players have either come through the academy at Palace or have been signed to be given regular game-time. The likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka are key examples of how a player can develop within the spotlight at Selhurst Park. However, with so many teams closer by geographically to the players current location, it might be tougher to land James than it was with other Championship talents such as Eberechi Eze.
The club, though, are believed to be confident that they can provide the player with a suitable long-term package. The ability to pick up a young player and offer them regular game-time is a big part of how the Eagles now do business. With Patrick Vieira showing this year that playing young players is not a problem for him, there could be a chance to convince James to pick Palace over options on the list.
A classy player who has represented Wales at youth level, James could very much be a player in the mould of a Bellingham. If Palace can get there first, it would be yet another coup to land such a coveted young domestic talent.