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How to keep big teams from poaching your prospects?

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I'm pretty new to FM and I'm an American who isn't all that familiar with how international pro soccer works, so bear with me. I think that means I have 2 strikes against me already. :D

I started a save with Southhampton down in League 1. After our first season my youth academy generated 2 decent porspects. One might be a backup in the future. The other was good enough to be a borderline starter. But by the start of season 2 the better prospect signed a contract with Chelsea and I never had a chance to hold on to him. The game never gave me the option to turn down Chelsea's offer. Was this because he was still on a youth contract? I hadn't thought to sign him because he wasn't close to being ready to play for my team.

So how do you keep bigger teams from stealing your prospects?

Thanks in advance.

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at the soonest possible opportunity... tie the lads down to full time contracts...

if a team becomes interested in your player... hike his sale value up to silly amounts , give him a new contract and cross your fingers..

to be honest.. if he's a youth player.. you cant do a whole lot to stop the big boys stealing your talent... its part of the game :(

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Yea, any remotely hot prospects need to be offered contracts asap. They cost very little anyway and its worth it.

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