Wolves Academy forward Jaden Forrester has joined Championship outfit Swansea City in a move which demonstrates the increased focus Wolves are putting on player transitions away from the club.
Wolverhampton-born Forrester joined his hometown club when he was just eight, progressing through the Academy to make 25 appearances in the U18 Premier League, but only six of those came last season.
Going into the summer without a professional contract and his scholarship coming to an end, it was up to Wolves’ strategic player marketing manager Matt Jackson and a team of staff at the Academy to find the best possible move for the 18-year-old.
“In the past, Jaden might have been let go and would’ve had to find his own path back into football,” Jackson explained, “but now, there’s a support network in place for all of our players.
“Unfortunately, not all players can make it with their first club, but we owe it to our players, especially those like Jaden who have spent more than a decade at Wolves, to move them on in a way that is best for everyone involved.
“We arranged a trial for Jaden at Swansea, we supported him through that process, and Swansea also looked after him really well. It’s that sort of co-operation we feel is going to be a big part of a player’s development who isn’t necessarily going all the way up to the Wolves first-team.”
Although Jackson might have co-ordinated the final part of Forrester’s move to south Wales, he insists the credit is with four other members of staff at Wolves – technical director Scott Sellars, head of player care Lisa Hollis, development phase coach Darius Vassell and psychologist Kate Ludlam.
“It was very much a team effort, between Scott’s contacts, Lisa, Darius, who has played a big mentoring role, and Kate, and it is this fantastic network which is in place at the football club that has made Jaden’s move an almost seamless transition.
“We have great communication here. Everyone knew what Jaden required and knew what their particular function was in the process perfectly, allowing me to co-ordinate the final stages.”
Forrester’s switch to Swansea follows that of another former Wolves under-18 player Dean Pinnington, who moved to Wigan Athletic towards the end of the 2020/21 season following a successful trial, and Jackson hopes the latest transition out of Wolves will provide Forrester with a new challenge, albeit on a different development path.
“Jaden now has a great opportunity, with a club who has a really good profile,” he added. “The club has done its work diligently in finding this opportunity and are protected with a sell-on clause if he is a success in the future, but the move allows him to develop his career somewhere else.
“Ultimately, it’s a new direction for him. It’s a new motivation. The pathway is slightly different at a Premier League club than it is at a Championship club, but sometimes players need a different challenge and development path and that’s exactly what we feel we have provided for Jaden.”