Young Chelsea attacking midfielder Thierno Ballo will get his first taste of professional football this season, after joining Austrian club Rapid Vienna on loan. There is no buy-option in the deal for the 19-year-old, despite their attempts to include one.
Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Ballo spent his childhood in Austria and has represented them as a youth international starting at the U15 level. He was spotted in the academy of German lower league club Viktoria Köln, before joining Chelsea in 2018. He’s since managed impress at the U18 and U19 levels at Cobham, before helping the U23 Development Squad to a PL2 title and being the their joint-top goalscorer last season alongside Myles Peart-Harris.
Rapid Vienna are currently 6th in the Austrian Bundesliga, which has been dominated by Red Bull Salzburg since 2014. But Rapid have also qualified for the group stages of the Europa League — drawn into a group with West Ham, Dinamo Zagreb and KRC Genk — which could be a great opportunity for the young Chelsea loanee.
“We have been watching Thierno for a long time, and his talent makes him a very interesting player. He wants to take the next step in our development and we will all support him in this. We are therefore very pleased that we have succeeded in signing another highly talented player for this season.”
-Didi Kühbauer, head coach; source: SK Rapid via Google translate
Best of luck, Thierno Ballo!