Chelsea love to spring surprise signings and have done so again just over a week until the new year. Alsu Abdullina, a 20-year-old left back from Lokomotiv Moscow, will be joining Chelsea Women for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign, and will be with the Blues until 2024.
Abdullina comes into a side aching for quality at the fullback position. Summer ending without any signings at fullback (with Emma Hayes stating that the team tried but couldn’t secure the signings they wanted) prompted the switch to a 3-4-3, and turning competent wide players into wingbacks. When it works, it’s brilliant. When it doesn’t... well.
Chelsea have apparently been tracking Abdullina for some time and felt that now is the right time to make the move. Though this is a signing (really any fullback signing, to be fair!) Chelsea supporters have been clamoring for, the 20-year-old will need some time to get integrated into the Chelsea setup. As we’ve seen with Dutch center-back Aniek Nouwen and winger Lauren James, Emma Hayes does a lot of work with new signings in training before she trusts them in an XI.
How well Abdullina can get up to speed remains to be seen. But the signals are promising, as she has been a sensation in Russia. Despite her age, she has been a regular on the Russian Women’s National Team since 2017. Great performances at FC Chertanovo Moscow got her noticed and eventually signed by Lokomotiv Moscow, and now she’s on to Chelsea.
It’s a big leap for sure, but it’s at a position where a starting spot is potentially up for grabs. If she can, it may give Emma Hayes the option to move Guro Reiten back into the forward line, or even a return to a back four.
One thing I personally love in doing some quick scouting and research on Abdullina is that she loves a nutmeg.
Welcome to Chelsea! Let’s win some things!