Teen prospect snubs big club interest to sign first professional contract with Stoke City

Sol Sidibe has made eight first team appearances already at Stoke City.
-Credit: (Image: Phil Greig)

Teen prospect Sol Sidibe has revealed his pride after signing his first professional contract with Stoke City.

The 17-year-old midfielder has refused to have his head turned by speculation linking him with some of the game’s biggest clubs, instead putting pen to paper on a three-year deal at the bet365 Stadium.

He said: “Stoke City is my boyhood club and where I’ve spent my entire footballing life so far, so it’s a very proud moment to sign my first professional contract.

“It’s something you aspire to from a very young age, so it’s an honour to have got to this point, with a massively long way still to go to achieve my long-term ambitions.”

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Sidibe grew up in the Potteries - where his dad Mama was a Stoke City promotion hero under Tony Pulis. He has been on Stoke's books since he was at primary school, supports the club and has long been eyed as a potential star.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United are all reported to have been among his suitors over the years, but his family and their advisers have seen a pathway for him at the bet365 Stadium.

Sidibe agreed pro terms with the club last summer after making his first-team breakthrough and went on make eight senior appearances for the Potters last season, including an eye-catching display from the bench against Bristol City on the final day of the 2023/24 campaign.

He also collected his first England under-18 caps in May during the Young Lions’ victories over Northern Ireland and Morocco having previously made his bow for the U17s earlier in the season.

He made his Stoke debut at the age of 16 years and 176 days in August of last year - as a substitute in a 4-1 opening day win over Rotherham - becoming the second youngest player ever to make a league appearance for the club. He is the club's third youngest player in all competitions, behind Emre Tezgel and Peter Bullock.

Club sporting director Jonathan Walters, a team-mate of Sidibe’s dad in the Premier League, said: “Sol is clearly a player of significant potential and someone who has a real understanding of what it means to represent Stoke City having been with the club since he was eight.

“He’s a great example to others on our pathway of what can be achieved, even in a relatively short space of time, if you show the right dedication and commitment.

“We believe there’s a pathway for Sol here at Stoke City to go on and achieve his undoubted potential and I’m excited about watching the next stages of his journey unfold.”

Links have emerged recently about interest from across the UK and Europe. The Daily Mail suggested Chelsea, Rangers and AC Milan “were keeping an eye on Sidibe's situation”, but Stoke boss Steven Schumacher sees Sidibe as part of his senior plans for next season, and it seems Sidibe feels the same way.

He said: “Every time I come in, whether it’s training or a matchday, I always give 100% for the club and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and show the fans what I’m capable of.”

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