Over the last year or so, Mandela Egbo has been a name on everyone’s lips at Selhurst Park. Seen as one of the brightest lights in our academy set-up, he was touted as the next player capable of forcing his way into the first-team, but now, after a prolonged spell in footballing limbo, he is gone.
Deciding not to sign a professional contract in SE25, he has instead chosen to take a huge leap of faith in signing for Borussia Mönchengladbach, uprooting his entire life in the hope of making a splash in the Bundesliga. To most neutrals, it will be viewed as a brave and admirable step, but after eight years with our academy staff by his side, it does sting a bit to see him move on.
Thanks to the regulations over deals of this nature, the club are now due no compensation whatsoever from the German outfit, which will always leave a bitter taste in the mouth; with all the work we have done with him counting for absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Whilst it took quite a while for the announcement to be made, Egbo’s impending departure was something that had been known about inside the club for quite some time, with Jack Thurston, who regularly contributes to this site saying:
“I was made aware of Mandela’s move to Germany a few weeks ago, but we decided not to report it until the news became official, for fear of the damage it may cause to the deal.”
Admittedly, some may suggest that a story centered around a highly-prized asset leaving the club for nothing would do little harm to us internally as a football club, but there remain principles by which sites such as this one have to be run.
Quite regularly, information will come our way prior to an official announcement being made by the club, with the obvious temptation to share it counterbalanced by the potential harm it could do, not just on a deal by deal basis, but in the long-term.
In the case of Mandela Egbo, there is an obvious and understandable tendency to look at it from one side of the fence without taking a moment to consider his personal goals in what is an extremely short career. After seeing the number of academy graduates dropping steeply after the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Jonny Williams made the step up, the right-back has clearly looked towards German football as the place for him to thrive and for that, he should be commended.
You can be sure his intentions were never to leave the football club without any form of compensation when losing him, but for a teenager looking to make his way in a ruthless industry, he shouldn’t be demonised for doing what is perceived to be right for him on a personal level.