Sanderson makes permanent move to Blues

Wolves Academy graduate Dion Sanderson has joined Birmingham City on a permanent deal following two successful loan spells at St Andrews.

Having joined Wolves at the age of eight, the defender rose through the club’s ranks and has displayed his talent in the Championship in recent seasons during time spent away from Molineux.

The 23-year-old first caught the eye of gold and black supporters during the Premier League 2 Division 2 promotion-winning season of 2018/19 as Sanderson returned from injury to play a key role in helping Rob Edwards’ side earn promotion into the top tier of youth football for the first time.

His performances for the under-23s during that campaign earned him a place in the senior Wolves squad for the pre-season tour to China in summer 2019, with Sanderson featuring in both matches as the Old Gold lifted the Premier League Asia Trophy following a penalty shootout win over Manchester City.

The Wednesfield-born centre-back was handed his only senior outing by Nuno Espirito Santo just a few months later as he started the League Cup tie against Aston Villa.

Since then, Sanderson’s progression continued away from Wolves, as he developed in the EFL with Cardiff City, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers, as well as two stints with Birmingham, which has led to his permanent switch.

Sporting director Matt Hobbs believes the move is not only a good business decision by Wolves, but also one that will benefit Sanderson as he is able to return to St Andrews and play for a club he has enjoyed being part of.

“Dion is so well liked around the football club because of the type of person he is and everyone at Wolves would want the best for him and his career,” Hobbs said.

“He’s has had lots of successful loans, but he really wanted to find a permanent home. He was very comfortable at Birmingham, and we were able to negotiate a fee that we were looking for, as well as protecting ourselves in case Dion kicks on again through sell-on clauses and bonuses.

“As a business decision it’s great, but most importantly, this move is about being able to give Dion a career and a home where he can really settle and be part of something.”

Sanderson becomes the latest Wolves Academy graduate to find a new home in the football league, and Hobbs has praised the work of the youth coaches who have helped the defender progress into the player he is today.

“Having joined right at the very start of the academy, Dion’s development has been testament to the work of the coaches and staff who have helped him all the way through, but it’s also testament to Dion himself because of the attitude he had towards it all.

“Because of this hard work, we’ve developed value into a boy who came into the club at a young age, which demonstrates the academy and the loan pathway system we have in place at Wolves is working.

“Our aim when any young player joins the academy is to create careers. Those careers aren’t always going to be in professional football, but Dion was part of a good group, alongside Max [Kilman], Morgan [Gibbs-White], ‘Gilo’ [Ryan Giles], Elliot Watt, Oskar Buur, Niall Ennis – which shows if you can create a group like this and help guide them through the system, you’ve got seven or eight careers at a good level.

“We’ve looked at what worked with Dion’s group because if you can create a strong and competitive group, they can drive each other on in their progression, and that’s something we’re trying to replicate more and more across all levels of the academy.”