Almost a year ago to the day, we covered an article in Le Parisien, who claimed that Southampton had enquired about 14-year-old Elye Wahi, who had just scored 89 goals for Caen’s youth team during the 2015-16 season.
Since then, a lot has happened, including the youngster getting kicked off the French team for ‘disciplinary reasons’.
According to a new article in the same French newspaper, following that incident, Southampton swooped in, and were expecting him to sign for them once he turned 16 years of age.
In the meantime, the Saints agreed to let him train with and play for FC Montfermeil, who play regional football, eventually paying them €30k as a thank you for taking care of him.
This all happened in July, but, and it’s a big one, in August, Wahi is said to have signed a youth contract with Montpellier, where Caen’s former head of youth development, Francis de Taddeo, was ready to give him a second chance.
Montfermeil are understandably annoyed at this, as are Southampton, who are backing the small French side, who have taken the matter up with the French league (LFP).
The club’s president said: “This story is really strange to say the least. The kid’s dream was to go to England, and Southampton were ready to pay his family somewhere between €350k-500k. I think he was manipulated by his stepfather.”
Montpellier, down their end, are pleading innocence.
Francis de Taddeo said: “Madame Wahi asked me if he could train with us during the holidays. Elye is a boy with footballing qualities. He made a mistake at Caen, but he’s allowed a second chance”.
A decision is expected to be taken on Tuesday, but if it doesn’t favour Montfermeil and Southampton, Hadef explained he was prepared to take it up with the French Football Federation.
As things stand, Wahi’s future is up in the air, and the Saints might not get their prodigy.