Queens Park Rangers are closing in on a deal for 18-year-old Southend United prospect Charlie Kelman, as reported by the Echo News.
Kelman announced himself to Southend fans at the tender age of 17 when he netted a spectacular goal from the halfway line in a game against Plymouth Argyle. That led to fervent speculation he might progress quickly, with Spurs one side he was linked with.
That interest never materialised and Kelman settled into the first-team picture at Roots Hall, scoring seven times in 19 outings last season as they were relegated from League One. This campaign, he has appeared three times in the league, with the Shrimpers currently second from bottom.
He is now undergoing a medical at Loftus Road and is set to be the third lower league player they recruit for the Championship campaign, having already added Oxford’s Rob Dickie and Charlton’s Macauley Bonne to their ranks.
Kelman is eligible to play for the United States and England, having spent some of his youth career stateside, appearing for FC Dallas. He has been capped by the stars and stripes at both Under 18 and Under 19 level, but some senior football in the second-tier could well lead to further international honours.
In total, the youngster bagged eight goals in 33 outings for the Shrimpers but looks to have played his last game for the club.
Have you tried our brand new sticker quiz?
Kelman is certainly an attractive prospect and his record last season was impressive. Seven goals at any level for an 18-year-old is good going, but even more so when you consider how bad Southend were. They lurched towards relegation from the first kick of a ball and struggled to create chances for much of the season.
Kelman is an undoubted talent and whilst it will sting to see him leave Southend, the money they get for him could help stabilise a club apparently in freefall. They will be desperate to avoid back-to-back relegations, suffered by the likes of Chesterfield in recent seasons, and perhaps a short term injection of cash, allowing a free agent or two to come in, is the best way to do it.