Date: 14th June 2011 at 8:46pm
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Leeds United are once again having to come to terms with the loss of a talented youngster from the club.

16-year-old Elliott Kebbie looks set to sign for Barcelona after turning down the offer of a scholarship at Elland Road.

It looked like the talented youngster, who is also a talented athlete who can run the 100m in under 11 seconds, was going to stay at Leeds after the club looked to have kept the vultures at bay with both Manchester United and Chelsea circling.

Once again, it shows that the bigger clubs can muscle in and take the talent away from clubs outside the Premier League.

Kebbie joined Leeds at 8 years of age and a lot of work and time as been taken to nurture Kebbie into a talented young footballer at the clubs academy.

Surely, something must be done to protect clubs from the vultures, who not only put pressure on the youngsters but also promise the families the world to make sure their children sign for their club.

Why should a club spend thousands of pounds worth of resources on nurturing these kids only to have no protection when bigger clubs come knocking.

We may feel that we have it hard and clubs even further down the pecking order of the Football League rely on the cash injection the sale of a youngster that as come through the ranks make.

Clubs in League One and League Two have survived for many years on bringing through talent and then being able to sell them on for a large fee.

Crewe Alexandra have been the masters of this over the past twenty-five years with the likes of David Platt, Danny Murphy, Dean Ashton and Nicky Maynard all coming through their academy systems and going on to play at the highest level after breaking into their first team.

It now seems that clubs are not even getting the chance for players to get that far with the big clubs muscling in at schoolboy level before a professional contract as been signed.

Kebbie`s departure follows a growing line of youngsters that have come through the Leeds Academy only to leave in recent seasons.

Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo departed for Chelsea, Luke Garbutt – Everton and George Swann and Louis Hutton – Manchester City.

Danny Rose turned down the move to Chelsea with Woods and Taiwo but signed for Tottenham Hotspur at the age of 17, for a fee believed to be in the region of £1,000,000.

Fabian Delph also left in recent seasons at the age of 19 after joining the Leeds Academy at the age of 11.

Delph signed for Premier League side Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, although it was rumoured to be around £8,000,000.

Only John Howson is still at the club after coming through the ranks in recent seasons to become a regular in the Leeds first team.

The European court of justice ruled in March 2010 that clubs could seek compensation if they felt their youngsters are snatched away from their clubs.

In France, a player who was brought through a clubs junior rank and between the ages of 16-22 had to sign a professional contract with that club if offered to them; otherwise, they faced a three-year ban.

The European court of justice saw this as a restriction of movement for a player between these ages.

I am sure our shy and retiring chairman Ken Bates will have his say on the Kebbie matter over the next few days.

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