Like most other big teams, Chelsea continuously scout for new talent both at home and abroad, in attempts to find the next big thing, the next unpolished diamond, the next loan warrior. Our latest activities, according to the Evening Standard (who are basing their stories on Portuguese reports) include watching two Benfica players several times over recent weeks and months.
One of them is Brazilian attacking midfielder Anderson Talisca, with whom Chelsea have been linked with since last year due to José Mourinho's comments on how he could have become a good Premier League player if it wasn't for English work permit hardships (which since have become easier to circumvent). His goal tally hasn't been as impressive as last season's but this could be attributed to him being used as a pivot player rather than as an outright attacking midfielder by Benfica's new manager Rui Vitória.
The other player is Portuguese winger Gonçalo Guedes. The 18-year-old has been drawing comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo after being called-up to join Portugal's national team by manager Fernando Santos for a set of November friendlies along with other youngsters.
Most Guedes highlight reels show him playing more on the right flank than the left, using his preferred right foot to control the ball and beat defenders with a quick first step. He's got plenty of pace, draws plenty of fouls, but his awareness could use a bit of work. His finishing and passing don't look overly impressive (and these are highlights!) and neither does his habit of keeping his eyes mostly on the ball and rarely on the pitch (again, that awareness issue).
Although Benfica have recently signed Guedes to a new contract with a £42 million release clause, the player really seems a far cry from deserving that kind of price tag just yet. Clearly, Benfica are banking on him for the future. Maybe, we should be doing the same, and keep our focus on talent from within. We also have plenty of talented wingers in our youth ranks; perhaps with more potential than Guedes himself.