EXCLUSIVE: AFC Sudbury star Tyler French transfer-listed by Bostik League club
AFC Sudbury have transfer-listed star defender Tyler French, with manager Mark Morsley believing the time is right for the 20-year-old to find a new challenge, and denying it is about finances or a fall-out between the player and himself.
French, who can play anywhere along the back-line and has previously been on trial with Premier League clubs Crystal Palace and Leicester City, has found himself as an unused substitute in the Yellows' last two Bostik League North Division matches.
He had previously been one of the first names on Morsley's team sheet, having been the most selected outfield player this season, with his 32 appearances in all competitions, only two behind goalkeeper Paul Walker.
But an email which the club had asked to be circulated to all clubs at their level and above in the country says the player, who is contracted until the end of the 2019/20 season, is available to move for a fee.
The former Hadleigh United and Long Melford youth player became the first big success story of AFC's full-time academy when he broke into the first team as a 17-year-old at the tail end of their Ryman League North title-winning campaign in 2015/16.
His performances the following season almost led to a move to Premier League Crystal Palace, with negotiations breaking down between the clubs at the 11th hour following a January 2017 trial, before a pre-season trial with Leicester City also did not materialise into a move to the country's top tier.
Ipswich Town had French, the son of former Sudbury player and Long Melford player and manager Tony, on trial for three months prior to Crystal Palace's interest, before then manager Mick McCarthy ran the rule over him again on a further trial in August 2017.
The Long Melford-based player spoke publicly for the first time about the impact the moves breaking down had on him to the Suffolk Free Press in November, stating it has not put him off chasing his Premier League dream.
Only this month the Non-League Paper ran an article looking at the best young players in the non-league game, which included French.
Sudbury manager Morsley said: "I am thankful for what Tyler has done but I now feel it is time for him to look for another challenge."
Asked if it was financially-motivated from the club's point-of-view, or about a falling out with the player, he said: "No. But the club have decided we will not be making any further comment on it."
Regarding what happens in the interim, with the email only circulated to clubs earlier today (Monday, February 25), Morsley said: "He continues to train and will be available for first-team selection.
"I will decide if he plays for us or plays a couple of time in the reserves."
He added:"I am sure there will be some interest and the email says we are not looking for a loan we are looking for a transfer. A loan does not help anyone."
It is understood scouts from professional clubs have been watching French in action this season but the club has yet to receive any firm interest.
French has previously captained AFC, despite only being a teenager at the time.
* See Thursday's Suffolk Free Press for more.