The burning question: Will Szmodics leave the U's this summer?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Sammie Szmodics has been at Colchester United for the last 16 years - and yet he's still only 23.
However, livewire Szmodics might not be with his boyhood club beyond this summer, when his current contract – he signed a new three-year deal in June of 2016 – finally expires.
Clubs from the Championship, in particular, are beginning to express an interest in recruiting the impressive Szmodics, who has enjoyed another good season at the Essex club.
In recent days, the second tier trio of Derby County, Bristol City and Hull City have all been linked with summer moves for a player who already has more than 150 games under his belt, despite some lengthy spells on the sidelines with long-term injuries.
Szmodics was close to making the move at the start of 2018, during the January transfer window, when Premier League outfit Bournemouth seemed ready to offer a fee in the region of £1m.
That move to the south coast never materialised, but boss John McGreal himself admitted that he expected there to be strong interest in some of his players during the most recent January window, including Szmodics. That also never came to fruition.
At the moment, Colchester-born Szmodics, who in all has bagged 35 goals in 156 first-team outings for the U’s, is concentrating all his efforts into helping his team make the League Two play-offs.
Indeed, if the U’s were to finish in the top seven, and then secure promotion via the play-offs, Szmodics might even decide to stay and sign a new deal to play in League One next season.
However, the chances must be that Szmodics will be on his way this summer.
At the age of 23, it would seem the right time for him to move onto a higher level, and there will be no shortage of clubs prepared to sign him, as the recent interest shown by Derby, Bristol City and Hull surely prove.
Derby are currently in the play-off zone, in sixth slot, with Bristol just a place outside it, while Hull are five points off the pace and so only have a very slim chance of gate-crashing the top six.
Certainly, before the U’s relegation to League Two in 2016, Szmodics showed himself capable of shining in the third tier, despite his young age and his struggle with injuries – two operations on an ankle, and also a broken leg.