Matthew Mills has joined Manchester City to link up with his academy mentor Steve Wigley, City reserves manager.
In a deal that the official site explain very similarly to the Theo Walcott sale, Mills had apparently made his mind up to leave Saints and the club had no choice but to cash in before his contract expired:
‘Following the Under 19 European Championships in July 2005 I was disappointed with the lack of first-team opportunities I received in the first part of the season under Harry Redknapp.
‘I therefore decided prior to George Burley’s arrival that if the opportunity arose to join a Premier League Club that my future football career would be better suited elsewhere.
‘In recent weeks the Club has done everything within their powers to persuade me to stay at Southampton, but my decision was already made before the current manager came to the Club. I would like to thank the Club for initially recognising my potential and all the Academy staff who have helped me to develop’
Its a shame to see Mill move on, as he was an excellent prospect for the future and once again Saints have been left with little reward for developing young players.
Reading his comments makes it frustratingly apparent how little loyalty there is in the game; does he not feel he owes the club anything for the years they spent developing him?
Maybe the whole thing is a continued hangover from relegation, as Mills stated he wanted to join a Premier League club, but it’s likely his first team opportunities will be limited at City.
His attitude seems pretty presumptuous, considering he’s yet to even prove himself in the Championship.
One things for sure, if the academy is to be worthwhile we are going to have to hold on to some of the talent that emerges from it.