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Page last updated at 07:44 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 08:44 UK

Crewe Alexandra's Nick Powell 'not for sale' - Gradi

Dario Gradi
Dario Gradi is keen to keep hold of his highly-rated academy players

Crewe manager Dario Gradi has said none of his academy players, including England Under-16 international Nick Powell, are for sale.

Press reports have linked Premier League giants Arsenal with a move for the 16-year-old midfielder.

But Gradi told BBC Radio Stoke: "We have to deal with speculation when they are coming through, and in many ways we do treat it as a compliment.

"Our academy youngsters are not for sale at any price."

Gradi continued: "It was the same when Arsenal asked about Dean Ashton [who made his debut for Crewe as a 16-year-old in 2000].

"David Dein [former Arsenal vice-chairman] phoned me and said there must be a price I would be prepared to sell him for, and I told him there wasn't. There was no point even discussing it and he accepted that.

"The first thing we do is what is best for the kid. We want them to establish themselves here and it gives out a clear message that, even if Premier League clubs want them at 16, it doesn't matter.

"We want to keep our good young players for our own supporters. We want them to see them play for Crewe and enjoy the same satisfaction as we do and enjoy their progress."

Powell signed a two-year scholarship deal with the Alex in April, joining Max Clayton, George Ray, Ben Garratt and Brendan Daniels in committing his future to the League Two club.

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