With a transfer ban in full effect (for now anyway), the club’s biggest star set to move to Real Madrid, questions being raised about the head coach’s future (again), and two of our brightest homegrown talents out with matching long-term injuries, there’s plenty to be concerned about at Stamford Bridge these days.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s torn Achilles may be less severe than Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s, but it may still be a fair few months before he’s ready to play, train, and contribute. In the meanwhile, his contract continues to tick away, day by day, week by week. The 18-year-old has a year left, and Bayern continue to lie in wait, potentially targeting a January move to save themselves some cash and let the player finish his recovery at Chelsea.
But Chelsea aren’t sitting just idly by either, and, if the Mail is to be believed, are ready to try to persuade Hudson-Odoi to sign a new contract later “this month”. To sweeten the offer, Chelsea are ready to include the symbolic gesture of putting his name on the No.10 shirt, removing ‘AZARD’ and adding ‘UDSON-ODOI’.
While ‘10’ may be just another number, it does carry symbolic importance. It is usually given to the best, most important playmaker, the fulcrum around which the attacking impetus of the team revolves. Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane all wore the No.10. Joe Cole, Juan Mata, and Eden Hazard are some of the names who have graced it at Chelsea in recent seasons. Bayern Munich were reportedly willing to offer the same provision, given the impending departure of Arjen Robben.
And so the decision comes back to the young man once again. While Chelsea’s offer is set to include a substantive pay rise as well, Hudson-Odoi’s concerns have always related more to playing time than compensation. Bayern were promising immediate superstardom, and while the Bundesliga may, in general, provide better pathways for young players than the Premier League these days, surely there’s some part of Callum that wishes to accomplish those goals at his boyhood club. Signs to that effect were promising before the injury struck; hopefully it was not too little to late.
Chelsea appear willing to leave no stone unturned in order to make this happen, so good luck to us.