Schoolboy football sensation and national invitee Dujuan “Whisper” Richards is on the move to a top English Premier League outfit and is expected to sign a deal in the coming days.
However, his manager and president of Phoenix Academy Craig Butler, when reached by the Jamaica Observer, admitted that the promising striker was indeed on his way to big-time continental football, but refused to name either country or club.
“He will sign with a very big club in the next few days if he has not signed already,” said Butler. “It will be massive for the youngster and for the country.
“This is important because we want to ensure that our players get to the highest possible level that they can get to and to attain success,” he said.
Even as Butler tried to give the slip in the effort to solicit the name and country of the club, the Observer’s well-placed sources and football insiders across the football globe said with certainty that the Kingston College standout will be joining a Premier League outfit.
Richards, 17, has been on the radar of numerous clubs across Europe, and quite a few in England in particular, as was manifested in his recent two-week trial stint with storied Newcastle United, but it was not clear if the Magpies were still in the running to snatch the lanky frontman.
As informed as the Observer sources are, they were not able to state whether Richards will be signing a deal that will send him directly to the club’s senior set-up or its academy. Those very sources also said it is likely that when Richards signs with the British club, conventional process could see him being sent on loan to a club in continental Europe considering that he may not meet all the English transfer eligibility requirements at this time.
Meanwhile, Richards and other Phoenix Academy members recently paid a courtesy call on sports minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange at her offices, and the government official later said in an Instagram post that the player had mentioned to her that “he has something big to announce”.
Richards will follow famous Jamaican footballers, the late Lindy Delapenha and Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, who moved to professional English clubs as teenagers.
Meanwhile, Richards has had an outstanding campaign in the just-ended schoolboy football season, netting more than 30 goals, while providing 19 assists for the North Street giants.
Richards, who was recently called to the Reggae Boyz team, is expected to feature in their two friendly international games against Trinidad and Tobago this week. The games will be played Saturday, March 11, in Montego Bay and three days later in Kingston.