Chelsea transfer news: Why Blues should avoid signing Club Brugge’s Antonio Nusa

Cameron Smith
Antonio Nusa, Chelsea, 2023/24
© ProShots

Antonio Nusa’s proposed move to Brentford is at risk of collapsing after the Norway international failed his medical on Monday evening.

The 18-year-old was expected to join Thomas Frank’s side from Club Brugge, but the deal was thrown into jeopardy by “complications in the deal,” according to David Ornstein.

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The Athletic reporter also added that it could open the door for other teams to sign Nusa, with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea both interested.

CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs subsequently reported the suspected reason behind the complications. He posted on X: “Brentford’s deal for Antonio Nusa is now almost certainly off. Reason is due to knee and back issues during the medical. It’s understood the knee issue is potentially quite serious.”

FootballTransfers understand that Chelsea wanted to sign Nusa earlier this month, but were unable to make a decisive move for the teenager due to FFP implications.

However, the Blues have been tipped to re-enter the race for the Club Brugge wonderkid following Brentford’s failure to complete a deal.

Why Chelsea should avoid signing Antonio Nusa

While Nusa has been compared to Neymar and praised heavily by Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, Chelsea should be extremely wary about pursuing a move for the winger.

The Blues have attempted to eliminate the need for a middle man in recent months, with Moises Caicedo’s move from Brighton & Hove Albion proof of the kind of business they no longer want to conduct.

Instead, Chelsea want to sign players directly from the source. They have landed the likes of Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Angelo Gabriel and Deivid Washington by using this method and want to continue in 2024 – as seen by interest in Nusa and Blackburn’s Adam Wharton.

Antonio Nusa, Club Brugge
© ProShots – Antonio Nusa, Club Brugge

The benefit of this process is that Chelsea should save money, but the negatives are that there’s no guarantee of success and the Blues now have an extremely young squad of inexperienced stars.

This has the potential to become a real issue and a pursuit of Nusa would fall into this category once again.

If he joins Brentford, then he will be able to develop in the Premier League without the pressure of performing for a top club straight away.

Nusa would also be able to learn from the likes of Bryan Mbeumo and develop slightly away from the spotlight. Although he would be the centre of attention during big games, poor performances against lower level Premier League clubs wouldn’t cause mass social media attention.

At Chelsea, however, the Norwegian would be under pressure to deliver straight away and could suffer a similar fate to Mykhailo Mudryk.

Mudryk is still extremely raw and his tally of senior minutes is miniscule when compared to the likes of Enzo Fernandez or Benoit Badiashile. He is evidently not ready to play a significant role in Chelsea’s first-team, but the Blues spent an initial €70m to sign him and must persist in order to find value in their acquisition.

Signing Nusa would directly impact Mudryk, given they play in the same position, and wouldn’t solve the issue of signing a proven star to replace the Ukrainian in the short-term.

Furthermore, just like Mudryk at Shakhtar, Nusa’s minutes at Club Brugge have been managed and he hasn’t played much senior football to date.

This season, Nusa has only started six league games in Belgium, while he’s come off the bench on 10 occasions. In total, he has amassed just over 2,300 minutes of first-team football at Club Brugge.

He is still extremely young so this tally makes sense, but spending a large sum of money on Nusa represents a huge risk. The injury problems flagged during his Brentford medical are also a cause for concern and Chelsea must be very careful if they decide to pursue him.

Nusa is a fantastic talent, but a move to Brentford is the right step for his development. In fact, the Bees wanted to sign Mudryk in 2022 and that would’ve been the perfect next step for the 23-year-old, rather than a transfer to Chelsea.

Nusa, and Chelsea, must learn from that mistake.

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