In case you don't know of him, here's a look at Chelsea striker Jhon Pirez

Back in 2008, Chelsea brought in a young Uruguayan to trial with the club.  He was so impressive that the club immediately agreed to a deal with his club (Defensor Sporting) for a deal involving the then 15 year old Jhon Pirez (much like they recently did with Lucas Piazon).  That deal would involve Pirez signing officially with Chelsea on his18th birthday, which he did last February, while he was on a pre-contract arrangement prior to then.  After officially signing with the Blues Pirez was immediately loaned back to Defensor as FIFA regulations would not allow him to join the club until the transfer window reopened.

Pirez has made quite a few appearances for the Chelsea youth squad when they've competed outside of England, as he's been eligible to participate there without worries of a work permit.  He made his senior squad debut for Defensor last February at the age of 17, coming on as a late substitute in a 4-1 victory over River Plate (not the Argentinian one).  He actually scored on his debut, and that video can be found after the jump.  He's also been a fixture on the Uruguayan youth squads, and would have likely been one of the youngest players in the U20 World Cup this summer were it not for an injury.

This summer there has been very little mention of Pirez, but that is certainly understandable.  Pirez was already under contract with Chelsea, and he's been rehabbing a ruptured patellar tendon suffered in training for the Uruguayan U20 team in May ahead of this summer's international play.  He's currently rehabbing the injury in Cobham and there is no publicly known timetable on when he might return.

Physically, Pirez is an interesting player.  He stands about 6'2" tall and is fairly strong for an 18 year old.  He's got solid speed and change of direction skills, but nothing that will overwhelm Premier League competition in the mold of Mt. Lukaku.  He's pretty solid in the air, and he does a nice job fending off defenders with his strength and pace to make a solid aerial target.  All told, his balanced physical presence would not lead me to have any worries about Pirez adapting to the English game.

Technically, Pirez is still a little raw.  He's displayed an excellent first touch and fantastic finishing skills to go along with his very solid footwork.  He's often slow to pick out a run though, and sometimes his decision making on what to do with the ball is a bit questionable.  Largely because of that, he's not known as a lethal passer.  Pirez often looks at his best when he's not given much time to think and simply has to react.  That's not uncommon for an 18 year old though, and the flashes of brilliance he's shown would certainly lead one to believe that with experience he has the ability to become exceptional.  He actually reminds me an awful lot of a slightly bigger and faster version of Fabio Borini at the same age.

I don't have a ton to offer in the way of video on Pirez due to his age and where he plays, but I do have a few clips so you can at least get a look at him.  The first is on his professional debut against River Plate.  Pirez's goal can be found at the 26 second mark of this clip, and it certainly fits right in with the reaction type goals he's excelled at to this point.


The second clip I'll give you is some highlights from the Dallas Cup.  Chelsea highlights start at the 2:08 mark and the Pirez goal is at the 2:45 mark.  Sorry about the video quality of this one...


To the best of my knowledge, Pirez has not yet been granted a work permit.  He'll be ineligible to play in England until he does, and he's unlikely to be granted one anytime soon.  That's probably fairly inconsequential, however, as he's still likely a ways off of a competitive return.  I'd expect to see Pirez continue his rehab and training at Cobham ahead of being loaned out abroad in January.

While Pirez is a long way from being a factor for the Chelsea first team, he's certainly a name that will likely start to pop up on the radar in the coming months.  If he ever does develop into a first team player, he'll be considered "homegrown" by the FA.  His development will certainly be fun to watch, as in the coming several years there will be a large amount of turnover in the Chelsea strike force as the old guard moves on.  Regardless of the end results of his development, I'll enjoy watching how it goes over the next several years.  Best of luck in the future Jhon, and hopefully that knee heals up soon.

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