Manchester City are planning a summer swoop for Fulham’s teenage starlet Patrick Roberts, according to a report in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday.
The paper claims that City are keen to add the 18 year-old midfielder to their ranks in order to boost the number of homegrown players in their first-team squad so they can adequately satisfy the criteria ahead of next season’s Premier League and Champions’ League registration deadlines. Roberts is widely considered as one of the most promising young talents in the English game and Fulham have already fended off tentative approaches from Manchester United and Chelsea to keep him at Craven Cottage.
The England under-18 youth international, who made his first team debut in Fulham’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City as a substitute last March, starred as Fulham’s under-18 side reached the FA Youth Cup final last season. He made twenty appearances – mainly from the bench – as the club struggled to adjust to life in the Championship – and has only a year left on his current contract. Earlier this week, Kit Symons reiterated his confidence that Fulham would be able to keep hold of one the club’s prized assets.
The Mail on Sunday suggests that City would consider offering a deal that could reach up to £10m with add-ons for Roberts, although Fulham will not give up on one of their most impressive Academy graduates without a fight. Chief executive Alistair Mackintosh, who used to hold the same position at City, has offered Roberts a new deal believed to worth around £5,000-per-week and will stress the importance of continuing his development at the club that has so successfully nurtured his talent.