While the world and its mother watches Cesc Fabregas and his on/off Arsenal/Barcelona transfer/love affair with the kind of scrutiny one could only associate with a microscope, Tranmere youngster Dale Jennings has stolen a jump on the Spanish star and now sits on the verge of completing the summers most amazing transfer deal.
With the two sides having agreed on a transfer fee of something in the region of £1.8 million, the youth will now travel to Munchen to undergo his medical at and within the next 24 hours the ex-Liverpool winger should become the latest player to join German giants Bayern Munich.
Jennings began his football career at Liverpool where he represented the Reds at schoolboy level. Unfortunately he was released at 15 years of age and after trials with a number of clubs he was snapped up by Super Whites.
One of the most amazing aspects of Jennings transfer to Bayern Munich is that he only made his debut against Charlton Athletic in September. And such were the levels of maturity in his performances that from the time of making his debut until the end of the season he would go on to play 29 games in the 2010/’11 season with just four of those games coming from the bench.
In October, Dale went on to win the “Apprentice of the Month” award from the PFA before claiming the award again in March. He then won the League One “Apprentice of the Year” award at the seasons end. Following his impressive early displays, that saw him score four goals in just 11 games, unsurprisingly, Tranmere tied Jennings down to a professional contract in October, but only until June 2012.
After Jennings claimed the October award Tranmere Youth Coach Shaun Garnett told BBC Radio Merseyside that “Dale has a great story for any boy who suffers rejection. We picked Dale up when he was 15, having been released from Liverpool and having down the rounds at other clubs.
“He came to us on trial and right away he was as good as we had and you could see the potential from the start…”
Interest in the prodigious youth began to rise in November following his wonder goal against Plymouth Argyle and all of a sudden scouts from the Championship, Premiership and across Europe started to frequent Prenton Park. Considering that scouts from Sunderland, Fulham, Watford, West Brom and Everton were all at that faithful match shows just how far Jennings had come in just a handful of games.
In January, Tranmere turned down an undisclosed an offer from an unnamed Premier League side and then rebuffed a couple of low bids from clubs in the Championship. So with no signs of interest in the player waning and with interest from West Ham growing, Bayern Munich contacted the club in May about the availability of the youngster.
Jennings was immediately keen on the deal being pushed through and from an early bid of around £500,000 negotiations were easy and rose to £1.8 million including add-ons.
“Dale is keen to go over there,” said Tranmere manager Les Parry.
“There were more scouts than home fans at games [and] Dale is an exceptional player. He scores goals and runs at people at pace, and defenders don’t like that.
“Bayern have made us a very good offer for Dale and we don’t want to stand in his way of making this incredible move.
“When a club with the size and history of Bayern come in for you it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and I wish Dale all the best should the transfer happen.
“It also says a lot about the club’s youth system that one of the giants of European football is interested in signing one of our players.’
“If you look back at the number of young players who have had the chance to go abroad to one of the giants of Europe, there are very few English players who have done that.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him.
“You don’t pay that sort of money for a player and don’t look after him so he’ll be well looked after.”
Jennings, reminiscent of a young Thomas Muller, is a powerfully built winger with good technique, great maturity and is blessed with an impressive work ethic to boot. It is very surprising to find that Bayern Munich have snapped the youngster up without having to fend off interest from any Premier League sides as Jennings undoubtedly personifies the kind of youth player that almost every team are looking for.
When you consider that Liverpool and Everton would have been more than aware of Jennings as a player it is quite incredible that they allowed the youngster to leave their incredible sphere of influence.
There can be little doubt that Bayern Munich will coach and train Jennings in the correct manner of the game and that the expectations placed upon his young shoulders will be immense when compared to those at Tranmere or indeed at lesser Premier League teams.
The demands at Bayern Munich will be reminiscent to those placed on youth players at Manchester United where self sacrifice over self preservation is the name of the day and where attitude and team comes first every single time.
Jennings, in his brief 29 game career, has already shown that he has the patience and attitude to succeed and that he also has a never say die approach. All of which are evident from his release from Liverpool at 15 to when he dropped down a couple of leagues to make his debut with Tranmere at 17.
He now moves onto the next phase of his career and the great beyond and adventure that is life in Germany with Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness, and Jupp Heynckes.