Manager makes emphatic response to reports star man tracked by Tottenham for three years to transfer
By Alex Stevens
Slavisa Jokanovic has insisted that Fulham will not sell teen sensation Ryan Sessegnon this summer.
The 16-year-old has been linked to all the elite Premier League clubs on the back of a stunning start to his professional career.
Sources have told Football Insider that Tottenham have been closely tracking the left-sided ace since he was 14 as they weigh up a bid this summer, while there is also strong interest from Liverpool and other super clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
But Fulham are keen to hang on to their prize asset, who is so highly rated that many expect him to be worth £30million in two years.
Manager Jokanovic gave a firm response on Wednesday to the subject of Sessegnon’s future by insisting the youngster “will not be in the transfer market in the summer”.
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The #FFC Heach Coach says Ryan Sessegnon “will not be in the transfer market in the summer.”
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) April 12, 2017
Jokanovic has brought Sessegnon through this season, using him at both left-back and in left midfield while monitoring his game time carefully.
He has responded with six goals from 27 first-team matches in the campaign, including two in Fulham’s stunning 3-1 win at Newcastle last month, and also weighed in with three assists, remarkable tallies for a player who is not only foremost a defender but also one who is so young.
Fulham have showed in the past they are not able to hold on to their outstanding academy products, with Mousa Dembele leaving on a free to Celtic last summer, 12 months after Patrick Roberts joined Manchester City for £11million.
The west London club will be in a stronger position to keep Sessegnon for another year if they are successful in gaining promotion from the Championship.
The Londoners are seventh in the league, two points adrift of Sheffield Wednesday in the final play-off position.
Football Insider revealed last month that Sessegnon had signed a pre-contract with Fulham as the club moved to protect themselves from Premier League predators ahead of the summer window.
He is still on a scholarship contract at the Championship outfit and cannot pen a professional deal until he turns 17 in May, but the pre-contract stipulates that he will sign a formal professional agreement at the earliest opportunity, which will be his birthday on 18 May.
This will enable Fulham to hold out for a higher fee for Sessegnon.
Football Insider verdict:
There is not so much a queue to sign Sessegnon, as a stampede. Ridiculously talented and precocious, he would be a marvellous signing for any club whose manager is willing to put his faith in youth and hone them on the training pitch. Liverpool and Sessegnon appear an ideal fit. Klopp is renowned for his development of outstanding young players, and there appears no limit to what Sessegnon can achieve. Fulham have known for some time they have a remarkable young player on their hands and the big boys have been beating a path to the Cottage to try and persuade the youngster to up sticks. A huge sum could still pass hands to push the deal through, but for a team crying out for a long-term left-back option, this could be a fabulous signing for Liverpool.
In other Tottenham transfer news, a forward has signed after Spurs agreed terms on an out-of-window deal.