Chelsea are one of the clubs who have been more active than most in the on-going January transfer window. The Blues have brought in Gonzalo Higuain on-loan and have agreed on a deal to bring Christian Pulisic in come the summer. However, it looks like there could be some outgoings too before the end of the month.
Both Willian (in the Telegraph) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (via BBC Sport) have been linked with a potential exit from Stamford Bridge, and whilst Maurizio Sarri may allow one of the wingers to leave, there’s no way he’ll sanction the exits of two wide-men in the same mid-season transfer window. For that reason, we’ll be looking at both of the in-demand stars and deciding who Chelsea would be better off keeping.
Chelsea pulled off the coup of the Brazilian winger, Willian back in summer 2013, prising him away from Russian club, Anzhi Makhachkala from under the noses of their London rivals, Tottenham. The electric wide-man has been a loyal servant to the Blues, performing consistently in his five and a half seasons in London, and even winning the club’s player of the year award for his efforts in 2015/16.
However, whilst the winger has given a lot for the Blues, he is now 30-years-old and it looks like he could be set to start winding down his career. A move to Barcelona certainly wouldn’t be winding down, but if the Catalan club are willing to pay Chelsea a massive fee of around £50 million then it’s something that Sarri simply cannot afford to turn down.
TT GRADE: B
From the old to the young, whilst Willian has entered his thirties, Callum Hudson-Odoi is yet to hit his twenties. The 18-year-old winger is highly regarded at the club and it looks like he could be their next long-term hero that the fans get behind. That will only happen, though, if the club can keep him on-board and avoid the temptation of letting him go to Bayern Munich.
The German giants have obviously seen how well the likes of Jadon Sancho, Reiss Nelson, Ademola Lookman have done in the Bundesliga, and Hudson-Odoi has all the attributes to match and arguably better those that have already shone in the Bundesliga. However, Sarri will know just how much potential his youngster has got, and should never allow him to leave for Germany.
TT GRADE: A
Whilst Chelsea are in a position where they don’t necessarily have to sell anyone, the chances of both Hudson-Odoi and Willian both having a future at the club are slim. For that reason, it makes sense for Sarri to cast one eye to the future and look to offload Willian ahead of Hudson-Odoi. The starlet may not be fully established, but his future is far brighter than Willian’s.
It’s not guaranteed that any impressive young player will go on and shine, but given the way things work at the top clubs, the coaching staff at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground will be able to mould the 18-year-old from a rough diamond into the jewel in the Blues’ crown. For those reasons, there’s no way Chelsea can justify allowing Hudson-Odoi to depart over Willian, and the Englishman wins this battle.
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