Exclusive: Chelsea warned about transfer target’s attitude problems

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French football expert Jonathan Johnson has warned Chelsea that there could be a risk with signing Lyon attacking midfielder Rayan Cherki as he has been questioned over his attitude and professionalism.

The 20-year-old has established himself as an exciting prospect, and Johnson has admitted in his exclusive Daily Briefing column that the Frenchman is one of the most talented players Lyon’s academy has ever produced.

The problem with Cherki, however, is that he doesn’t always conduct himself in the best manner, and Johnson admits some top European clubs have clearly had some concerns about that when looking at him in the past.

Chelsea are known to have looked at Cherki but have not yet moved for him, so it could be that the Blues are aware of these issues with the player and his entourage.

Rayan Cherki to Chelsea?

Johnson certainly seemed to urge caution over Cherki, though Lyon are clearly also in a very difficult situation right now, so it could perhaps pave the way for a move this January.

“It’s not a happy place to be at the moment,” Johnson said of Lyon. “Rayan Cherki is one name whose future could be in doubt, and there’ll be plenty of European clubs monitoring him and other players because as well as sporting issues on the pitch at the moment there are also real financial difficulties for Lyon.

“A lot of players already wanted to jump ship before the start of the season, and they still could. Cherki will certainly be one to keep an eye on, though I don’t know for sure if Chelsea plan to come back in for him – the Blues had an interest in him in the past, but one problem with him is that clubs are becoming increasingly aware that he has massive attitude problems.

“Cherki doesn’t always conduct himself like he should on the pitch or in training, and there is quite a problematic relationship between the player’s entourage and the club, so that could get in the way of him developing to the best of his ability.

“He’s considered one of the most talented players to ever come through Lyon’s academy, so there’s no doubt he could become a top, top player one day, but you just have to look at reports of how things have gone in the first few weeks under Grosso – it points to him being a difficult character and I think that’s made a few European clubs think twice about trying to make a move for him.

“Still, while Lyon remain hamstrung financially, there are sure to be clubs who try to pounce on that opportunity. Whether or not Chelsea are one of those who decide to go back in for him, it depends how much due diligence they’ve done on the player. They’ll have to decide if it’s worth the risk, because some clubs have looked closely at Cherki before deciding to think twice.

“These issues have been there for a while, not just with Grosso – there’s definitely room for him to improve the way he responds to what coaches are asking of him, and to deal better with constructive criticism.

“He has immense potential, but at the moment it looks like unless he changes, it’s going to be difficult for him to really tap into that potential and have the career he’s truly capable of.”

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