Plug Leon: The 16-year-old kid shopping for Fati, Sancho, Greenwood and Saka
Like many other 16-year-olds, Leon Gissing spends a lot of time in his bedroom talking football, and is constantly on WhatsApp. But there's one key difference.
At every hour of every day, he is getting messages from the likes of Barcelona's Ansu Fati, Manchester United's Mason Greenwood, Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka.
He is their trusted personal shopper – who can source limited edition trainers or a sold-out hoodie – and football's hottest names are willing to pay for his Plug Leon services.
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Many of his clients are seen as wonderkids and so too is Gissing, who set up his business at the age of 13 by handing out business cards at team hotels or after games.
Now 16, Gissing has over 100 clients and is the talk of dressing rooms across the Premier League and European football.
"I knew Edmilson Fernandes when he used to play for West Ham; he went to Mainz and plays for Switzerland. I sold to him and he put me in touch with Breel Embolo, who put me in touch with the entire Monchengladbach team," Gissing told Goal when explaining how his business has grown through word of mouth.
"Then, I knew a lot of the Swiss team who introduced me to Granit Xhaka but he already knew me from Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
"I was a 13-year-old kid who wanted money to buy some new trainers. I knew my parents weren’t going to keep giving me money but I wanted to raise some capital.
"I had a contact who would tell me when Man United’s train was getting into London Euston station, I would research their hotels and I would hand out my cards to Pogba and the United guys to message me.
"I used to go to Stamford Bridge and I would knock on their windows and pass them my card. I hustled and they respected that because they worked as kids to get where they are. The football world is a small world and information travels fast.
"Players would go into training with great trainers and their team-mates would be envious and find out I sourced them."
Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson was Gissing's first client and, to the amazement of his school friends, he capitalises on his contacts through advertising on Instagram.
Jordans, Yeezys, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and, increasingly, Fear of God and drew house; Gissing knows how to get hold of anything.
It has led him to becoming a financial success but it isn't just about the money. It is about the money-can't-buy experiences that working with footballers has given him.
"I have shirts from them, play two-touch at their house or FIFA, Call of Duty and Warzone, it's like a dream for me," he added. "I did it with Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho would call or something.
"I get invites to stadiums and training grounds. I work with Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba at Barcelona and Mitchel Bakker, Thilo Kehrer, Timothee Pembele at PSG.
"You deliver something to Reece James and then I am in my seat at Stamford Bridge thinking: 'Wow, what’s going on?!'
"You see the players wearing my shoes with their training kit when on the club’s Instagram or on TV pre-match.
"There have been sacrifices. I have been flying home from Dusseldorf and missed parties or football matches with friends. I am doing my GCSEs at the same time so that’s tough too.
"I remember I drove into Stamford Bridge to drop off some gear and I was driving out with my dad and people thought I was a player, it was like going full circle from when I was handing out my business cards there."