Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mumba Has Plenty of Potential - but He Must Wait to Grow

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mumba Has Plenty of Potential - but He Must Wait to Grow

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER Football writer stuart.rayner@reachplc.com @sturayner

BALI Mumba is the latest Sunderland player to be linked with a move to predators higher up the footballing food chain. Manchester City and Chelsea are said to be scouting the 17-year-old midfielder with a view to a PS2.5m bid.

It is the way of footballing life, and probably always will be for the Black Cats.

A key part of owner Stewart Donald's business plan for the club is to pump money into a category one academy to produce the players who can be sold off to pay for it and more.

If can even get close to fulfilling the potential he has hinted at in his first few senior appearances, Mumba will eventually be one. All Sunderland should hope is that he waits until he is sufficiently formed to stop himself being swallowed up in the system of these big clubs, as the likes of Premier League champion Danny Drinkwater, World Cup semi-finalist Reuben Loftus-Cheek and too many more before them have been.

But PS2.5m? Give over. Mumba has only played 169 minutes of senior football. We are talking about potential, and nothing more.

Sunderland were realistic in the summer with Joel Asoro, selling him to Swansea City for PS2m. They recognised the Swedish Under-21 international had only scored three senior goals, had not yet played a full season of first-team football, would be moving to the Championship and more importantly, was about to enter the final year of his contract, at the end of which he would be free to move for only a tribunal-set nominal fee.

While some supporters felt their player had been undersold, that last point made it a fair valuation.

But after signing his first professional contract on Friday, Mumba is not in the same boat. He has not committed to Sunderland for three years by signing a three-year contract, he has just guaranteed that if he leaves before 2021, the Black Cats are able to negotiate a price for him. …

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