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Official: Monaco sign teenage defender on cut-rate deal from Chelsea

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A shortcut on the “loan brigade” path

As first reported a couple weeks ago, AS Monaco have today completed the signing of 17-year-old Jonathan Panzo from Chelsea for a measly €3m, with no official buyback option as such clauses are against French FA regulations. (“Gentlemen’s agreements can be made, as has been rumored in the case of Bertrand Traore, for example.)

Panzo’s transfer goes very much against the grain of Chelsea’s loan army exploits. Normally, at his age, he would just be heading out on his first loan, so this is clearly a major step forward for him instead. It doesn’t not guarantee success, just like time on loan, but the boldness of it, assuming that he stays at least on the fringes of Monaco’s first-team certainly speaks of talent and belief. Reunited with former Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo, Panzo presumably will have an easier route to first-term football at Monaco than at Chelsea.

The 17-year-old defender had been with the Blues since before age 8, joining in 2008 and making it to the U18 level by the 2016-17 season. In only one-and-a-half years in the development team, he won five club titles: two FA Youth Cups, two U18 Premier League titles, and one U18 Premier League Cup. He shone brightest at the international level, helping England to an historic U17 World Cup last year.

Good luck, Jonathan Panzo! Perhaps we will meet again sometime soon in the Champions League, once Chelsea manage to get back there...