The speculation over the future of Chelsea and now England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi was a massive feature of the January window and is looking likely to rumble on into the summer. The winger has made quite the impression in recent weeks, particularly in an England shirt, but should he keep pushing to start at Chelsea? Or should he just move on?
The Jadon Sancho model
Two years ago, Jadon Sancho was a youth player at Manchester City with absolutely no real prospects of breaking into the first team squad any time soon. Due to that fact, Sancho decided it was in his best interests to seek pastures new – and due to his outstanding reputation from his youth career, secured a move to German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Despite only really fully breaking into the first team at the start of this season, Sancho’s stats are very impressive. This term he has made 26 appearances in the league, bagging eight goals and a league high 12 assists in that period. Since his move to Dortmund his career has really flourished – so much so that he’s earned his way into Gareth Southgate’s England first team.
Hudson-Odoi was presented with a similar opportunity to Sancho in January when Bayern Munich tabled numerous substantial bids for the 18-year-old. Despite putting in a transfer request to try and force through the move, Chelsea ultimately blocked the move. Sancho has made 26 appearances in the league this season, with 19 of them being from the first whistle. Hudson-Odoi has made just six appearances for Chelsea and has yet to start a game – you can’t help but think he must be incredibly jealous.
Callum’s Chelsea frustration
As previously mentioned, Hudson-Odoi is yet to start a league game in a Chelsea shirt. He’s made six league appearances from the bench this season, failing to grab any goals just yet. However, he has had slightly better fortune in the Europa League bagging four goals and two assists in eight games.
Despite the lack of game time, Gareth Southgate seems to have seen something in the Chelsea winger that his club boss, Maurizio Sarri, has not been able to as he called Hudson-Odoi up to the England squad. The 18-year-old was originally called up to the under-21 squad but following a spate of injuries to the senior side, Southgate handed him his maiden England nod.
He made his England debut off the bench in Friday’s 5-0 win over the
Chelsea’s attitude to youth
Chelsea’s attitude towards young players is appalling – that’s absolutely no secret. They currently have 41 players out on loan (and three coaches… yup). Obviously not all of the Chelsea loan players are youth players, but the vast majority of them are.
We’ve watched for years as brilliant young players such as Lucas Piazon are repeatedly loaned out before their careers end up fizzling out totally. Piazon came to Chelsea from Sao Paulo as a youth player before making his transition into the Chelsea first squad in 2012 as an 18-year-old. Since then, he has had six loan spells and has made just one appearance for Chelsea in seven years. He’s still contracted to the club but is currently on loan (shock horror) to Chievo at 25-years-old. He’s made just two appearances this season and his career has well and truly fizzled out.
This probably won’t happen to Hudson-Odoi for the simple fact that he is just too good to be loaned out. However, as a young player, why on Earth would you want to play for a club that is willing to treat players like that? If it were me, I’d be on the phone to my agent trying to get a transfer every single day.
Where would he go?
From fellow English clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal to his German admirers, Bayern Munich, there are no shortage of suitors for him. Even the likes of Barcelona have been linked with him.
If somebody can agree a deal for him in the summer, for which you would think would likely cost them around £50 million, he would be hard pressed to say no. Even if it was to go to rivals Arsenal or Manchester United, he should still definitely make the transition for the simple fact both United and Arsenal are both renowned for giving youth players a fair crack at the whip. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are both very similar in their approach to youth, with academy graduates consistently making match day squads.
Considering the ability he has, I can see somebody deciding to stump up the money for him come June/July time. He does need to be careful though – there’s no point leaving Chelsea to go sit on a bench somewhere else. He needs to make sure he’s going to the right place. For me, it’s all about the Bundesliga at the minute – if there’s another offer from Bayern, he simply must take it.