We've been waiting on news of Scotland youth international Islam Feruz for several weeks, and now we have it - the 16-year-old is to leave Celtic and sign a professional deal with Chelsea. In other words, we've added yet another hugely talented youth prospect to what's now a burgeoning crop of prospects. Feruz is a Somalian-born Scottish striker who can happily play all three forward positions in an attacking trident or serve in a strike partnership, and he's known for his speed and ferocious shot.
Chelsea are rapidly becoming one of the premier destinations for top prospects around Europe, and it's interesting to hear what Feruz's agent had to say about the deal, because it touches on the changes that have been made to the club over the past few years:
The first impression [at Chelsea] was extraordinary, it is a feeling that the whole club is behind him, they will support him on a daily basis and give him total trust and make him believe. It was not just every club in the Premiership [chasing Feruz] but also most big clubs in Europe who were tracking him. He is the one serious player in Scotland at the moment.
-Rui Alvez, Islam Feruz's agent. Source: Sky Sports.
It's pretty amazing to see that these players are no longer avoiding Chelsea's youth academy and instead are gravitating to it. Like Romelu Lukaku, Feruz will have grown up seeing Chelsea as a major power, and the changes made to the way the organisation handles prospects* have improved the club's reputation still further. Hurray!
*Especially if he wants to someday be sold to Hamburg.
Anyway, Feruz is an interesting character - his family entered the UK in 2002 as asylum seekers and it's only due to the amount of time he's spent in school at Glasgow that he qualifies as a Scotland international. The young man has already endured several years growing up in pretty awful conditions in Somalia, escaped the country by boat and then suffered racist bullying while at school, and while (obviously) none of those things are something one would wish upon everyone, it's pretty difficult to imagine Feruz taking the primadonna football prospect path. You'd have to imagine that he's been through enough to have his head on straight as he takes his career to the next level.
Anyway. Welcome to Stamford Bridge, Islam. It'll be a pleasure to watch you grow into a (hopefully) top-class player!