Linfield are on course to pocket at least £500,000 following Charlie Allen's move to Leeds United, which was officially confirmed this week.
he 16-year-old is one of the most exciting prospects Northern Ireland has produced in recent years and he now has the chance to continue his development at the Premier League new boys after signing a three-year deal at Elland Road.
Several top clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Rangers, were admirers of the Blues teen, but Allen has chosen to join Northern Ireland internationals Stuart Dallas and Alfie McCalmont at the Yorkshire giants.
As well as being a great move for the gifted teenager, it is also a financially lucrative switch for Linfield, who negotiated several add-ons in the contract.
Blues chairman Roy McGivern says the club will net around half a million pounds if the Carrick ace establishes himself in the Leeds first team.
"If Charlie was to play 50 games for Leeds in the Premier League, it would be worth £500,000 to Linfield. It would be massive money for an Irish League club," said McGivern.
"There are add-ons in the contract, including if he plays for Northern Ireland, so if he does well it's also a financial boost for us.
"There is also a substantial sell-on clause if he moves on from Leeds United, but we just wish him all the very best and hope he keeps progressing."
Allen will initially join United's Under-18s set-up but will ultimately hope to follow in the footsteps of Dallas and McCalmont by playing for the club's first team. He was part of the Northern Ireland Under-16 squad that won the Victory Shield in 2018 and the Linfield Swifts side that won the Steel and Sons Cup last season, scoring in the 3-1 final victory over Newington.
"He's a very talented kid with a great future," added McGivern, who last night learned that the Blues had been awarded a 3-0 victory against FC Drita by Uefa after Tuesday's Champions League game in Switzerland was postponed when their Kosovo opponents reported positive Covid-19 tests.
"There was huge interest in him from top clubs in England and Scotland. He has been on trial with a number of them and I feel he's gone to a great club in Leeds United.
"They are back in the Premier League and it's a club that gives young players a chance. It's a great deal for Charlie and Linfield."
Growing up at Greenisland FC, he moved on to Linfield’s Academy and made history last year when he became their youngest ever senior player, aged 15.
He came on as a substitute in the final game of the 2018-19 league season, capping his eight-minute cameo with an assist for Daniel Reynolds’ late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Coleraine. He went on to make a further seven appearances.
Last year, Allen helped Rangers’ Under-17s win the prestigious Alkass Cup tournament in Qatar, while he has also spent time at Liverpool’s Academy during recent years.
McGivern added: “Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas has clearly done very well at Leeds United and hopefully he can help Charlie stay on the right path. Our staff who have helped him develop are very excited about his progression and looking forward to see how the next chapter in his career goes.
“We simply want the kid to keep developing and we support him all the way. He’s a special talent and I firmly believe he will have a career in England.”
Allen’s good friend and former Linfield team-mate Dale Taylor has also made a big move, joining Nottingham Forest in a long-term deal, and everyone at the Blues, including manager David Healy — a former Leeds striker — is excited to see how the teenagers will develop in their new environment.