Former Chelsea youth prospect Jérémie Boga has been one of the standout players in the Serie A this season, certainly outside of the traditional “big” teams, turning heads with his ridiculous dribbling ability and penchant for scoring spectacular goals despite playing for one of the smaller teams to ever grace the competition, Sassuolo.
Given his success, he’s not expected to stay hidden too much longer. He’s been generating the appropriate interest in the transfer market already, including from Chelsea who were confirmed to have a buy-back option recently. Just last month, that option was reported as a measly €10m, but according to The Athletic, that has since been doubled to €20m as Sassuolo successfully convinced Chelsea to remove the sell-on percentage.
At the time, the rumor was that Sassuolo wanted Chelsea to completely remove the buy-back clause, which seemed to indicate that Boga might be heading elsewhere other than Stamford Bridge. But, if what the Athletic are saying is true, and we kept the buy-back (albeit doubled) and got rid of the sell-on, that could very well stoke the fires of Boga coming back home for next season. (If we have no intention of trying to get him back, why would we forgo the free money of the sell-on?)
What does Boga himself think of all this? He’s never ruled it out, and he doesn’t rule it out now either.
“When you become that good, it means it was always inside of you. So for me, I know it’s inside of me. So I just need the time to show it or maybe make the right decision, like coming here to the Serie A.
“When I was [at Chelsea], it was Willian, Hazard, Pedro. When Mourinho was there, it was Salah. There were a lot of good wingers. For me, it has always been if I can’t play, then I will try to go on loan or try to go somewhere to improve, then maybe come back one day.”
Seeing the players he came up with in the Academy, the Tammy Abrahams, the Fikayo Tomoris, the Ruben Loftus-Cheeks get their chances and grab them with both hands will have done no harm to those prospects either.
“I think our generation was one of the best Chelsea ever had. We had so many talented players. It was not easy but every weekend, we were so used to winning 2-0 or 3-0.”
Boga certainly doesn’t lack confidence nor talent — qualities he shares with his former Academy teammates — and after a few seasons now as a professional, he now also has the clarity of vision and purpose that allows him to be the best player he can be.
“Over the years, I think I’ve improved. Before, I used to force it. If there were three players, I’d still try and do something. Now, if there are three players, I’ll look for a one-two or a pass. But every time there’s a one-against-one for me, an opportunity to go past a player, then I take it.
“Core and leg strength to keep my speed and explosiveness. Since Chelsea, we always work on that. My movement can always improve because the better my movement becomes, the more chances you’re going to create for yourself or for your team-mates.”
“I think [defending] is positioning. But it’s mostly mental. If the right-back is off again, you have to go with him. If you don’t and they score, it’s your fault. That’s what I learned. If you want to play, you have to defend hard like everybody else. It’s not because I’m a winger or that I play high up the pitch that I cannot defend. I don’t have the choice. You have to defend.”
-Jérémie Boga; source: The Athletic
Recently turned 23, Boga’s on the verge of the superstardom we expected when he was impressing in the Academy.
If we play our cards right, he’s going to do so in a blue shirt, setting us up for sustained success alongside the likes of Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, and Hakim Ziyech! Not a bad collection of wingers and attacking midfielders, that!