John McCormick writes: I remember something about trialists not being picked in one or two of our pre-season friendlies, we had a trialist still with us the end of the transfer window – can anyone remember who? – and earlier this week Pete Sixsmith commented on the performance of Gael Andonian, a French born Armenian international who turned out for the U23s against West Bromwich Albion.
At more or less the same time it was mooted that one of our youths, Luca Stephenson, was moving to Liverpool for a fee of about £200,000, although I’ve seen different figures, and I did read somewhere that Liam Millar might be moving in the opposite direction. He turns 19 this month and we would be his third club as Liverpool signed him from Fulham.
There have always been footballing nomads and people whose contracts aren’t renewed, so trialists coming and going are nothing unusual. But is the movement of young players part of an increasing trend? And is it always above board? Jeremy Robson makes a welcome return to these pages with some observations: