It’s easy to lose track of the young players that top clubs sign, especially when it may take a year or two for them to start pushing for a first-team spot.
There was plenty of excitement at Chelsea last season when they managed to sign Xavier Mbuyamba from Barcelona – a 19-year-old Dutch defender who was looking for senior football and he’s incredibly highly rated.
Unfortunately he picked up a big injury that kept him out for most of the season, but he did start to recover his fitness towards the end of the campaign and he looks set for big things next season.
A report from NOS has looked at some of his comments about being compared to Virgil van Dijk, and it does look like he’s a surprise name to keep an eye on next year when it comes to Chelsea’s first-team squad:
“I know that there is a lot of pressure on me at Chelsea. I come from FC Barcelona, ??people talk about me a lot and I get the stamp ‘the new Virgil van Dijk’. I don’t care at all. I show that I can handle it and be as good as it is said.
“When I signed, Frank Lampard was still the trainer. He was very urgent to get me and wanted to speak to me when I was still playing at MVV. That was the plan, but it already went wrong during my second training in Under 23. I was seriously injured and was out for eight months. When I came back, Lampard had already been fired.
“My goal is to train with the first team in the preparation next season, I hope to hear that soon.”
It does sound like he could have been around the senior squad this season if he stayed fit and Lampard was still around, but he’s clearly a huge talent so it won’t be a surprise if he’s at least included for pre-season training and friendlies.
It would be a huge call for Tuchel to put him straight into the team but a new defensive signing may be required, so if he is ready then he could fill that void and give Tuchel more flexibility to spend money to improve at the other end of the pitch.