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Southampton signing this highly-rated 18-year-old lower league ace is a gamble worth taking

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Getty Images)

Why Southampton should look at Jack Veale as one for the future

According to claims from Football Insider (h/t Sussex Live), Southampton are among a host of Premier League clubs chasing highly-rated Exeter City midfielder Jack Veale ahead of the January transfer window.

South coast rivals Brighton are also understood to be keeping close tabs on the 18-year-old, who currently captains Exeter’s U-18 side. Veale recently bagged a brace as the Grecians overcame Bournemouth 3-1 in the FA Youth Cup, equalling their best-ever run in the competition.

Veale is yet to make his senior professional debut for Exeter City but he remains highly regarded by the youth coaches and has also drawn admiring glances from scouts of several clubs higher up the footballing pyramid as a result of his rapid development. 

Southampton have focussed on youth development under Hasenhuttl (Getty Images)

Southampton should definitely look to add more quality to their first-team ranks when the window reopens in January to strengthen their push for a potential return to Europe. They have made a great start to the season.

However, they also need to be alert to market opportunities to snap up bright emerging prospects as a part of their youth recruitment drive to bolster the academy. 

The Saints have put a lot of emphasis on promoting young talent since the appointment of Hasenhuttl at the helm in 2018. The likes of Che Adams, Moussa Djenepo, Ibrahima Diallo and Mohammed Salisu have all come through the door at St. Mary’s as highly-rated young players with plenty of room for growth. 

Several academy starlets like Yan Valery, Jake Vokins, William Smallbone and Michael Obafemi have also enjoyed varying degrees of success at the senior level, which clearly shows that Southampton are operating under a long-term strategy.

With other homegrown talents like Nathan Tella and Dan Nlundulu also pushing to break into the mix, the future certainly looks bright for the Saints.

Source: Getty Images

Putting things into context, Southampton beating off competition to sign Jack Veale from Exeter City in January would represent yet another exciting addition to the existing pool of burgeoning young talents at St. Mary’s. Veale is yet to be given a taste of senior football at his boyhood club but has already been earmarked for success.

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Verdict

There are no guarantees that Jack Veale would eventually be able to make the grade in the Premier League. But the 18-year-old’s obvious potential definitely makes him worth a low-cost gamble for Southampton.

Exeter City’s conveyor belt of talents has produced top-flight quality players like Ethan Ampadu and Ollie Watkins in recent years and Veale could well be another star in the making.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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