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Stoke snap up Cheltenham prospect Markall

Stoke City have snapped up Cheltenham Town prospect Ben Markall.

Cheltenham have announced the transfer of Under-14s player Markall to Premier League club Stoke City.

The deal features an initial compensation payment plus further sums of money depending upon his progress with the Britannia Stadium club.

The initial sums involved do not match those of Under-16s player Jamie Edge, who joined Arsenal in the summer, because Ben Markall had only been with Cheltenham Town for a year and is playing at a younger age group.

Cheltenham Town centre of excellence manager Ken Oram told the club's website: "It is important that we try to keep our very best players for our scheme, who ultimately have the potential to progress on to first team football but at times this may be difficult.

"We look at each player and the circumstances individually and weigh up the cost benefit of retaining a player or allowing them to move on. Ben has been with us for a relatively short period of time and the offer from Stoke City was one which benefited both parties.

"Ben now transfers to an Academy games programme and we are compensated for his development with us. Academy environments are very different to that of a centre of excellence. Facilities, games programmes and the lure of a higher profile club can have a significant sway with a player, despite the fact that a lot of good work goes on with centre of excellence clubs."

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