BARNSLEY are hopeful of keeping hold of 16-year-old striker Fabio Jalo who has shone for the under 18s this season.
Jalo, who was born in Portugal but has recently been selected for an England youth camp, is still at school but netted 15 goals for the under 18s this season. He is understood to have agreed to a two-year scholarship but the club would like to give him a longer, professional contract, with Premier League clubs eyeing the youngster.
Academy manager Bobby Hassell told the Chronicle: “It’s for me and the club to convince him to stay.
“If it’s down to finances, we have no chance. But we have a chance if he looks at the pathway to the first team.
“The early indications are he is totally committed. As it stands right now, he has committed to his scholarship and he’s signed that contract offer.
“I am trying to communicate strongly to the family that what is important for Fabio is to establish himself in our first team, like John Stones and Mason Holgate did.”
Jalo netted both goals in Barnsley under 18s’ 3-2 play-off defeat at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
Hassell said: “He’s probably the most exciting attacking player I’ve seen in the academy.
“He’s a top, top finisher.
“One of the best I have ever seen.
“He can score all types of goals – headers, right foot, left foot, 30-yard strikes, poachers’ goals.
“The only reason he has not left yet is because he’s small and stocky.
“But I would back him in terms of finishing against anyone in any academy. He’s scored three or four goals for our under 23s as well this season.
“His goals against Charlton were brilliant finishes. He certainly has Premier League quality.”