Dorking Wanderers are bracing themselves to losing Matt Briggs after a bidding war at the end of the season for the services of the Ryman South club’s star winger.
A host of top pro clubs, including Crystal Palace, Stoke City, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth are reported to be vying for the signature of the 20-year-old midfielder but manager Marc White is warning that Briggs will only move if a deal suits all parties with 18 months remaining on his contract and second-placed Wanderers chasing promotion.
White, who doubles up as the Surrey club’s chairman, told the Surrey Mirror the north east-born former Dunston UTS and Gateshead player is unlikely to have his head turned despite clubs from the National League to the Premier League monitoring his progress at the Westhumble Playing Fields.
He said: “Matt will probably move at the end of the season as long as the move is right for him. He’s currently doing a five-year university course in aerospace engineering and so any move to full-time football would mean a change in direction for him personally.
“We have had multiple clubs watching him and there have been a few trying to get him on trial but he can only go on two formal trials.We have had Stoke City, Palace, Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic and Ipswich watch him as well as a host of National League sides.
“The club are getting daily calls about Briggs now. He’s on a two-year contract that ends in 2018 and to be frank I think it’s going to end up being a bidding war. We don’t want to hold him back but it’s got to suit everyone.”
White isn’t surprised that the pacy and strong attacker is looking likely to earn a second-shot in the professional game after a serious injury stopped him progressing as a teenager after a trial at Blackburn Rovers and the offer a youth team deal with Premier League side Burnley.
Briggs also captained Wallsend Football Club of Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick and Peter Beardsley fame and White added: “People genuinely think that Matt has what it takes to play league football immediately. He was on his way to a career in football when he was younger but he did his ACL and had 18 months out of the game.
“After his injury, Matt decided to go to uni and so he only wants to go back into football if he’s got a good length contract and he’s playing first team football. As a player, he has relentless power. He is all pace and power. He stands out on every pitch.”