NEIL Harris has revealed that Millwall have had discussions with “top Premier League clubs” over the potential loan availability of some of their most promising young players.
Harris, however, insisted that the Lions would not “be held to ransom” by any club. Last summer Millwall were offered a young Premier League player on loan, but his parent club wanted a guarantee that he would start a certain percentage of games.
Harris said at the time: “I won’t commit to that, disrespecting my dressing room by bringing a young lad in who hasn’t played first-team football and putting him on a pedestal.”
Harris’ work with the Lions is known to be admired by several Premier League managers, who see Millwall as a club that nurtures and develops young players.
Millwall’s most famous ex-loan player is Harry Kane, who was just 18 when he moved south of the river. He won the club’s young player of the year award in 2011-12 and said his time in south Bermondsey was crucial to his development. Tottenham striker Kane is currently one of the stars of the World Cup in Russia.
The majority of the members of Gareth Southgate’s squad benefitted from loan moves in the lower leagues before establishing themselves in the Premier League.
And it is a market that Millwall could be active in this summer as they look to strengthen their squad.
“There can be real positives to those kinds of loans,” Harris said. “I’ve always been very honest in my assessment and my wording that if there is a player with a Premier League club that needs to drop down to get experience and that player comes in to get experience and adds value and quality to us, then I’ve got no hesitation doing it.
“But it has to be on our terms. I’ve had some really good conversations personally or via the recruitment department with top Premier League clubs, a lot of Premier League clubs, that would like to send players to us.
“But I won’t be held to ransom by anybody.
“If we can work with big clubs to make our squad better I’ve got no problem with that. I’d embrace it for the squad and also for the coaching staff to be able to work with top young players.
“It has to be the right players at the right time for us.”
Image: Millwall FC