Leeds United are just one of the teams hunting the signature of 17-year-old wonderkid Luke Baartman, as reported by the Scottish Sun.
If Daniel Farke‘s side are to be successful in their chase for the Cape Town Spurs
Baartman announced his arrival with a goal in his side’s 3-2 defeat against Kaizer Chiefs in early November, making him the second youngest goalscorer in the DStv Premiership. He is still at school in his home country of South Africa, but he has played for their Under 17 side and is rated as one of the most exciting young players in the country.
“I spoke about him last week, and I don’t really want to indulge too much about him,” Spurs coach Sean Connor was quoted in the media as saying after the Chiefs game. “My job is to keep his feet on the ground, keep him focused and get him to the next level where I believe he can go.
“I don’t want to get too exuberant about him. (He has) great potential and has a great future, as long as he keeps working as hard as he can, as he’s doing at the moment.”
Leeds have had success with South African players in the past. Lucas Radebe is something of a Leeds legend, and he came from Kaiser Chiefs, the side Baartman made his mark against earlier this month. At the same time, the Whites signed a striker, Philemon Masinga, who scored five Premier League goals in 30 appearances for the club.
Another striker, Davide Somma, also made his mark at Elland Road, scoring 12 times in 32 matches in 2010/11 before injury cut his career short. All three represented their country, with Masinga registering 12 goals for the Bafana Bafana.
Baartman, who usually plays on the right of an attack but can also operate down the centre, is believed to be capable of eclipsing those players to such an extent that South African star Arthur Mafokate even posted on social media about him, begging for trials abroad ‘before it is too late’.
Baartman’s exposure to senior football has been extremely limited, and there’s always a danger in over-hyping a plater before he’s got out of the blocks properly.
However, in these modern times, clubs are just as likely to buy potential as they are the finished product. All of the clubs mentioned would be likely to integrate the youngster into their academy system, especially those from the top flight.
Luckily, Leeds has a setup comparable with the best, and the facilities at Thorp Arch have helped produce some really good players in the past. If Baartman were to be courted by the Whites, there’s no doubt the setup would impress him.
One wonders if Radebe might also be a deciding factor, a legend in South Africa, and Elland Road.