Earlier this summer, Andrea Radrizzani said that he wanted to build up the prospect pool and Academy Leeds United because he thought it was best that Leeds develop, and keep, their best players, rather than hit the transfer market. Obviously all clubs would like to develop from within, but Radrizzani has put his money where his mouth is by not only investing in the Academy, but hiring Ivan Bravo, who runs the Aspire Academy in Qatar, and Victor Orta, who made his fame in La Liga by bringing a number of world-class players through the ranks at Sevilla.
And while the big name signings got all of the attention, with players such as Samu Saiz, Pierre-Michel Lasogga, and Gjanni Alioski dominating the headlines, the Academy made a number of signings this summer as well, plucking starlets from all over the world. A number of those prospects were signed from Spain, where Orta and his scouts have deep roots and have a lot of experience.
The Guardian has released a list of the 60 best footballing prospects in the world that were born in the year 2000 and one of the summer Academy signings made the list. Kun Temenuzhkov, who signed from Barcelona, is one of the few England-based players, and the only player from England who is on the books of a team outside the Premier League. Other players on the books of English clubs include Benjamín Garre and Lorenzo Gonzalez of Manchester City and Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea.
Gran debut en un partido amistoso alegría de ver los frutos del esfuerzo!— Hoskun Temenuzkov (@HoskunTemeuzkov) August 26, 2017
2 goles y 1 asistencia. ⚽ pic.twitter.com/umWNDLRv9L
Temenuzkhov, who has chosen to play for Bulgaria after receiving an invitation from Spain, rose up through the ranks at the famous La Masia Academy at Barcelona. He scored 30 goals in 30 matches for the youth team he was on last season, and is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s top prospects.
Temenuzkhov and players like him will be the future of Leeds United. With local boys Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira and Academy product Conor Shaughnessy in the first team, and ex-Liverpool Academy player Madger Gomes already getting time with the first team during preseason and in the League Cup matches, there is a path to success at Leeds. Having a player on this list is a big deal, even if lists like these are arbitrary and don’t guarantee success. The Leeds Academy may yet take the team back to glory in the Premier League.