The remaining days of this summer transfer window will be an all too familiar feeling for Callum Hudson-Odoi. Or at least for Chelsea supporters analysing the situation.
Last year with his minutes limited in the opening weeks of the season under Frank Lampard, Hudson-Odoi’s future was cast in doubt with a returning interest from Bayern Munich.
Reportedly a late bid of up to £70m went in for the young winger from the Bundesliga giants, which was turned down by Chelsea and Hudson-Odoi stayed put.
Fast forward 12 months and his future is once again in doubt, this time Serie A side Atalanta are reportedly interested in taking the 20-year-old on loan for the campaign. Borussia Dortmund are also rumoured to be working on a loan move for the winger before the window closes via reports from Sky Germany.
It is easy to understand Hudson-Odoi’s dream to break into his boyhood’s club best eleven, but he needs to be selfish and ponder what is truly best for his own development moving forward. It looks more and more, that is not under Tuchel in west London.
Thomas Tuchel was clear ahead of the Liverpool game that he sees Hudson-Odoi as part of his first-team plans moving forward.
“He waits for a chance in the half left position but he fights against Mason [Mount], Kai [Havertz], Hakim [Ziyech], Christian Pulisic, a lot of guys with a lot of quality. It is very hard for him. I agree but we don’t have to feel sorry for him. Once the door is open we demand he goes in between and makes his mark. This can happen at any time. He needs to be ready, this is what we demand from him.”
After failing to get off the bench in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday evening, Hudson-Odoi has yet to receive any Premier League minutes so far this season.
For context, Emerson who is now on loan at Lyon, has more Premier League minutes for Chelsea this season than Hudson-Odoi. Despite the clear fight for minutes in the attacking positions for Tuchel to choose from, Hudson-Odoi getting no chances is concerning.
Earlier this month I wrote about why Hudson-Odoi’s 2021/22 season is vital to his future at Stamford Bridge. This latest struggle for minutes is indicative of a wider problem for the consistent narrative that has surrounded one of the club’s brightest young products. Will he ever be given the minutes needed to become the player so many believe he can be?
Tuchel’s blunt comments leads one to think not with the stiff competition and the fact Hudson-Odoi has rarely got a consistent run in the team to make an impression.
After a strong pre-season and the late group of returning figures from international duty, it felt like this was a moment for Callum to get ahead of his peers. But since his start in an unfavored right-wing back role against Villarreal, Hudson-Odoi is back to twiddling his thumbs as others take the limelight.
For all the brilliance of Thomas Tuchel and the way he has transformed Chelsea, his comments on Hudson-Odoi’s situation don’t ring exactly consistent with things he’s said on Timo Werner’s struggles in west London. Off the pitch, Tuchel has been supportive and on the pitch, Werner has been given a lot of minutes to prove himself.
This is not to pick on individuals, but it is not a stretch to say Werner has not consistently shinned in the half-left position Tuchel references. Both Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have also been afforded more chances in their favoured positions, whilst Hudson-Odoi has had to settle for more a makeshift fit.
There is a frustration from some supporters Hudson-Odoi must go above and beyond in his limited chances to hit the ground running, whilst others are able to put in less impactful displays but remain in the team.
Given the start to the season there is little argument for who should be in Chelsea’s front three heading into the international break. Both Mason Mount and Kai Havertz have picked up where they left off last season. Romelu Lukaku has already hit the ground running as Tuchel’s new talisman with a goal against Arsenal.
I could sit here and ponder how things could have been different, why more leeway should be given to a player who is over 2,000 Premier League minutes behind fellow young English talent Bukayo Saka. But all of this is well trodden ground, it is time for Hudson-Odoi to take control and that might mean some difficult conversations.
This does not mean Hudson-Odoi’s departure will be a permanent one. A season playing under the lights at the Signal Iduna Park feels like the needed spark to light the fuse on a mostly simmering career. There is no better birthing ground for Europe’s brightest young talents than Borussia Dortmund, and under the savvy Marco Rose Hudson-Odoi could find the minutes he’s been dreaming of.
I speak to many Chelsea supporters about Hudson-Odoi and it would be silly to sell a unified opinion. Some feel he deserves minutes instantly; others feel the hype for his talent is misguided. Others – me included – just want to see him play more football in the aim of making a firmer judgement.
The conflict this summer for many young Chelsea players has been what the club needs versus what the player needs. It’s an uneasy tussle which has meant some promising talent has walked out the door, and the crossroads Hudson-Odoi finds himself at is no different.
You could spin things and suggest Hudson-Odoi’s original intention to stay put is not misguided given Chelsea’s Champions League campaign kicks off after the international break, plus the League Cup. Tuchel is a coach who likes to rotate naturally and will be forced to. Injuries, suspensions, form could all open the door for Hudson-Odoi to flourish.
However, these have all been in play before for him and little has altered. The next few days will define Hudson-Odoi’s next year and you feel it needs to be the right one.
Do you agree that Hudson-Odoi should try and get a loan move before the window slams shut? Follow our new Chelsea Fan Brand Writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London