Leeds United have an unfortunate yet rich history when it comes to letting young stars join rivals. At times in the past, they have made terrible mistakes in sanctioning moves. Now, however, with promising players coming through, it may be the right time to cash in.
In another season of discontent with off-pitch politics and no sign of a return to the Premier League, there have been a few shining lights on the pitch - most of them are under 21, too.
As with most clubs in transition - Leeds have spent about a decade in it - an emphasis on youth is usually the thing that gets club through. Part of Leeds' struggles recently have been bringing through talents worthy of wearing the shirt. All that appears to have changed though.
Players like Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Adryan have all established themselves as regulars at Elland Road and though the latter is only on loan, the former three are seeing their value rise every week.
Byram, in fairness, has been in the first team for a few years now, making nearly 100 appearances, despite only being 21. As he gains more maturity every week, he joins the large cluster of potential international-standard right-backs.
Article continues below
Mowatt was introduced into the fold last season by Brian McDermott and hasn't looked back since then, despite a short spell under Dave Hockaday in which he struggled to feature. The central midfielder, winner of the Football League Young Player of the Month for November, is now almost undroppable.
Even more recently, Lewis Cook has broke into the first team. He's not even old enough to drink a pint of lager yet, but his manager has been praising the winger's early impact.
They've all undoubtedly benefited from Neil Redfearn's management. They would have worked with him in the Academy when he was in charge, and now they've moved up together. There must come a time when everybody will have to move on though.
The majority of young footballers have an ambition to play in the Premier League - it's such a draw. Unfortunately for Leeds at the moment, they just aren't in the mix to be there next season or even the season after that at this rate.
We hear about the money woes for the Yorkshire outfit, nothing ever seems to run smoothly for them. They aren't exactly desperate, but they could do with the money. It would give them a great bargaining position.
This is not like situations in the past, when it seemed foolish to let the likes of James Milner, Aaron Lennon and Fabian Delph leave for clubs in similar positions - all of whom have gone on to play for England. Back then those players could have helped the back to the top level, but instead they've gone elsewhere and their value has increased.
At the moment, Leeds cannot afford to be carried by youngsters, they need experience to get them back to the top. The only place they will get experience is in the transfer market.
THE ONLY WAY?
The sale of the youngsters is, unfortunately, the only way to recruit a side full of players getting promotion. Look at Leicester, Burnley and QPR last season. These three were all brimming with experience.
That's the way football is nowadays, they may want to keep the homegrown talents but they may have no choice.
Have your say - do you think Leeds should sell their young players?
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms