Former Ilkeston star Che Adams seals move to Premier League side Southampton

Che Adams has progressed from Ilkeston (left) to Sheffield United (centre) and then Birmingham (right) and is now a Southampton player.
Che Adams has progressed from Ilkeston (left) to Sheffield United (centre) and then Birmingham (right) and is now a Southampton player.

Che Adams' path from non-league to the Premier League is complete after he signed a five-year deal at Southampton.

The 22-year-old was Birmingham City's top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship last season with 22 goals and the Saints are believed to have paid in the region of £15 million for his services.

It caps a remarkable rise for the striker who began his career at Ilkeston FC under the guidance of Kevin Wilson and Steve Chettle, progressing through the club's academy and taking the Northern Premier League by storm with a series of superb individual performances and goals which soon meant he was on the radar of professional clubs.

Sheffield United would be the club to pay for his services, Nigel Clough taking him to Bramall Lane in late 2014 where, having scored his first goals for the club in a League Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur, he would go on to be a first team regular and fans' favourite.

A move to Birmingham City soon followed, where he has gone from strength to strength and was the Blues' player of the year last season, leading to his transfer to Southampton.

He told Southampton's official website: “I was watching them play when I was at Birmingham and I liked what Ralph did so I couldn’t say no

“You can see with the track history and the gaffer’s belief in the young players, I want to be part of it.

“There was interest in January but it didn’t quite go through but I’m happy now it has.

“It’s a new step and there’s different players who I haven’t played with but I can’t wait for the challenge.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl said: “Che fits the profile of player we want to bring to Southampton and is very driven to show what he can do at the highest level.

“We have been monitoring his progress for some time now. He has shown a desire to join us above all other clubs, which shows the positive reputation Southampton has built for developing young players.”