'Time to move on and continue to work even harder' - Knight thanks Ipswich after completing Manchester City move
PUBLISHED: 12:58 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:58 02 July 2018
Ben Knight has revealed he has completed his move from Ipswich Town to Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 16-year-old England youth international was one of the most highly-rated players in the Blues’ youth system in recent years, but now heads to City’s academy in a deal worth £1million.
Though neither club have confirmed the move at this stage, Knight posted on Instagram on Sunday to confirm the switch was complete with a series of photos of him and his family in Manchester.
“Delighted to have signed for Manchester City,” he wrote.
“Thanks everyone at Ipswich for an amazing eight years. Time to move on and continue to work even harder.”
Academy supremo Bryan Klug referenced a player who could ‘potentially be the best I have ever worked with’ at the Supporters’ Club AGM last year, with that player believed to be Knight, while former homegrown Ipswich star Kieron Dyer has said Knight could have a better career than his own while comparing his style of play to that of Lionel Messi.
Knight was due to start a two-year scholarship at Ipswich this summer but, having admired the youngster for several years, Manchester City swooped and offered a deal which Blues owner Marcus Evans reluctantly accepted.
Ipswich could potentially have played hardball over the valuation of Knight but would have then risked the move going to a tribunal, where they would almost certainly have received a lower figure. Ultimately the Elite Player Performance Plan system means they were powerless to stop him moving on.
Speaking back in August 2016, former Town head of academy recruitment Steve McGavin – who is now at Norwich – said: “Unfortunately, with the Premier League, we’ve created a monster. It’s like a runaway train that no-one knows how to stop. The money at the top end, as we all know, is huge and it’s filtered down into the Premier League academies.
“I won’t say the clubs’ names, but one Premier League club recently took another Premier League club’s best Under-nine, Under-10, Under-11 and Under-12. The financial package that the Under-nine got was mind blowing.”
McGavin continued: “In recent times we’ve lost two boys. In both instances the players and the families wanted to move.
“One thing EPPP has brought in is that accessibility for clubs. If a club wants to sign a player and the player and his family want him to go then there is very little you can do about it.
“They go with our absolute best wishes and we hope they have all the success in the world because we would be rewarded financially very, very well if they do very, very well.
“We will lose players to other clubs because there might be a contract offer which is financially more rewarding, but that won’t change the way we work.
“We’ve still got lots of talented boys and we’ll keep finding talented boys.”