Believe it or not, Chelsea are reportedly looking to sign a left-back.
Yes, mere days after shipping Ian Maatsen out on loan to Borussia Dortmund, the Blues are said to be in the market for a new left-sided defender. At least that’s according to journalist Simon Phillips.
With Ben Chilwell only recently returning from injury and Marc Cucurella still out for a while yet, the Chelsea higher-ups believe that the left-back position is one that needs reinforcing as centre-back Levi Colwill has been forced to deputise in that position.
According to Phillips, Manchester United regular Luke Shaw and Man City flop Sergio Gomez are on Chelsea’s shortlist. Of course, it is acknowledged that a deal for Chelsea fan Shaw would be tough to pull off for several reasons, but the fact that he is even being considered should set off alarm bells.
It’s a similar story with Gomez. Once a highly-rated talent, the erstwhile La Masia prospect has failed to kick on and his move to City proved to be a massive miscalculation on his part. The Spaniard has barely featured and has seen his career stagnate massively.
Why let Maatsen go?
Under Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s transfer policy has placed a strong emphasis on snapping up some of the world’s biggest and brightest young talents. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, the London giants’ vital connection to their world-class Cobham academy appears to be increasingly under threat.
Academy graduates are being used to raise funds for expensive purchases. Mason Mount was sold in 2023, while the likes of Maatsen, Conor Gallagher and Trevoh Chalobah are for sale. Maatsen will have a €40.6 million release clause in the summer, though whether Dortmund, who will have the right of first refusal, will be able to pay that remains to be seen.
However, the links to Shaw and Gomez prove that there is no real coherent plan behind Chelsea’s business. The Dutchman wanted game time and had been played out of position by Mauricio Pochettino, but to just dump him – as they already tried in the summer – appears a strange choice.
According to data experts SciSports, the 21-year-old has significant potential, much more than Sergio Gomez. In fact, though the more experienced Shaw is deemed a much better player currently, Maatsen could match his level in the future.
He certainly looked promising on his Borussia Dortmund debut, having been immediately thrust into the starting lineup against Darmstadt mere days after arriving.
Maatsen was more than comfortable at left-back, with his ability to go on marauding runs up the pitch a useful asset to the Black and Yellow. It has only been one game, but the decision to dump him is looking like a mistake.