There aren’t many Championship players attracting interest from Juventus, Atlético Madrid, and Marseille. But then there are not many second-tier players such as Nathan Ferguson. Such has been his impact at The Hawthorns the 19-year-old has missed two Championship fittings since.
Transfer tittle-tattle linking kids with bigger and better things is inevitable. Column inches need filling, blogs want content and Twitter needs something to power it involving celebrity disputes.
But when a few of Europe’s most important names are taking a close look in a participant with 14 league appearances to his name, they have clearly got something unique.
Sensing the circling sharks, West Brom have provided Ferguson a new last-minute bargain to stay at The Hawthorns. Even if he signs it, you can bet the adolescent will not see it out.
Juventus, Atlético and Marseille are not the sole sides interested. He’s shown versatility and no small composure in playing right and left-back this year also.
That’s arguably the most impressive thing about the gifted youngster — he’s handled everything thrown his way with the atmosphere of a ten-year veteran as opposed to a player who had played in the EFL Trophy before this season. In actuality, Ferguson has not even so much as had a loan spell at a local lower or non-league side.
But on the grounds of his cool, calm and composed screens thus far, it’s tough to imagine there is much the England Under-20 global would learn from a stint further down the volcano.
“He’s just 18 on paper. But in his mind, I do not understand, is that he 25 or 27, he’s a child but only a child in a positive manner.
“He’s playing left-back and (in QPR) he has had a shot and scored from 20 yards — that’s the great thing about being young. He’s positive.
“It’s our job to keep him humble. There’s absolutely no doubt he’s a very bright future and a great career in front of him.”
It is not only going forward that Ferguson is impressive, though anyone who witnessed his aim in Loftus Road where he galloped down the left before cutting inside and finishing coolly, would be forgiven for thinking he had been a flying winger as opposed to a full-back.
Full-backs who donate going forward are often blighted with some defensive inconsistencies. However, Ferguson is impressive both in and outside of ownership. He has won the ninth-most defensive duels to get a Championship full-back this year (8 percent 90) and is 15th for ownership regains from the attacking third season with 0.36 per 90, which suggests he’s comfy flying high up the area.
Quick, powerful and great in one-v-one defensive scenarios, Ferguson has all of the features required of a modern full-back. If reports linking him with a move to the continent are true, he’s got the world at his feet also.
Despite all that, Ferguson stays grounded. Yet thanks to Bilić’s keen eye for talent, he’s established himself as a key element in this Albion side.
“It has been a surreal experience up to now for me this year,” Ferguson told the club site.
“It’s tough to put into words just how much I am enjoying it. Everything. Training with the first group, being around the first team and the supervisor.
“It has been really great. I have had a taste of what being a first-team participant is like and I need more and more of it.”
And working beneath a former defender at Bilić is apparently proving fruitful for Ferguson who recognises the part of the ex-West Ham and Everton centre-half have played in his rapid ascent.
“I’d say that my performances have been great but I know there’s room for lots of improvement,” he confessed.
“I’ve been talking to the manager a whole lot about my placement, my my overall game. I’m learning a lot from him, He is an excellent manager. He knows when it is time to step in and measure.”
But they might find they are disappointed as a result of the admiring glances their prodigious defender is drawing.