IT’S always difficult to ascertain whether a promising young player – yet to make a senior appearance, but with great potential – leaving a club is a good or bad thing.

Erion Zabeli’s move to Brentford will have raised eyebrows among Oxford United fans who kept an eye on the club’s brilliant FA Youth Cup run last season.

Alongside skipper George Franklin at the heart of the defence, Zabeli impressed with his composure on the ball and passing range.

READ ALSO: Oxford United FA Youth Cup star leaves for Premier League side

A centre back in the modern mould, those within the club also spoke highly of his outstanding pace.

Brentford will have taken notice of these assets, especially when Zabeli was on trial with the club at the back end of the last campaign.

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The negative for United is of course losing a talent to a club higher up the chain and missing out on the quality of player Zabeli could blossom into.

However, the fact the U’s managed to get a fee for him and that realistically, it’s unlikely he would’ve been involved an awful lot this forthcoming season, means the club can view the deal as somewhat positive.

It also strengthens the view just how well the club’s academy system is doing, that top flight sides are poaching one of United’s jewels.

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here:

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.