As the football season draws to a close, the transfer window will soon be open once again.
With millions of pounds looking to be spent throughout the summer, top clubs will be aiming to bolster their sides with the best talent from across the continent.
However, one question remains unanswered; are clubs overlooking the talent in the lower leagues of the English game?
The widely reported rise of Jamie Vardy has taken the footballing world by storm – due to the journey he has taken to reach the country’s top tier.
Having started his career with Stockbridge Park Steels, Vardy earned himself a move to FC Halifax Town. His career then went from strength-to-strength following a prolific spell with the Shaymen. 27 goals in 37 games for the Yorkshire outfit saw him move on to league side Fleetwood Town. A further successful spell followed with the Cod Army where he racked up 31 goals in 36 games, before Leicester City signed the recent England international in a one-million-pound deal.
As one season finishes, the next beckons to start, with clubs paying unprecedented amounts of money to attract the best players. But, is there talent overlooked in non-league with the next ‘Vardy’ waiting to be unearthed?
Take Dayle Southwell for example, a 23-year-old striker who has scored 19 league goals so far this season for Boston United.
With reports suggesting Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers are scouting the young forward, are higher clubs beginning to take notice of the goings on towards grass-roots level?
Another player who has attracted attention from Championship clubs is Chester FC’s Ben Heneghan. Following his release from Stoke City, the 22-year-old has put in a number of impressive performances this campaign in a bid to climb up the footballing ladder.
Similarly Blackburn and Bolton, as well as Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City have shown an interest in the centre-half having watched the Warrington based player at a number of games this season.
A case of two players who have been scouted and – as much as their present clubs would like to keep hold of them – look to be heading for a step-up in their careers.
This therefore goes back to the original question; are there more gems lower down the footballing pyramid? The answer to that question is yes and, should further players be unearthed, we may well see more players like Vardy grace the Premier League in the future.
(Stats correct at the time of writing).