Just one week of normality in the transfer market. That’s all Chelsea fans are asking for.
The Blues are never far away from divisive rumours, and the latest report to spark a supporter civil war has suggested that Chelsea have proposed a straight swap deal between young winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman.
On one hand, this is a proposal to swap a stagnating fringe player for a core part of perhaps the best squad in Europe. That sounds good.
On the other, this is Chelsea getting rid of a high-potential youngster for an injury prone, expensive addition to a forward line that is already stacked. Not so good.
It’s not hard to see why this has divided Chelsea fans, and truthfully, both sides of the argument have a lot of logic, but you can’t help but feel as though there are a few more negatives than positives here…on top of the whole story not making much sense anyway.
We know that Chelsea are on a fundraising mission to buy Dortmund’s £150m-rated Erling Haaland, and Hudson-Odoi is known to be one of the club’s preferred transfer pieces. He’s a valuable youngster who could raise a good chunk of that fee on his own.
So why swap him for another player? Why take on a player on a bigger salary than Hudson-Odoi’s already enormous wages?
It’s for those reasons that this deal probably isn’t happening, but let’s assume it is. Let’s assume that Chelsea are genuinely considering sending Hudson-Odoi to Bayern in exchange for contract-rebel Coman.
Firstly, we can’t pretend Coman wouldn’t be welcome at Chelsea. He’s a regular supplier of close to double figures in both goals and assists every season, and last year was actually the best of his career in terms of production.
That type of player will always be welcome at Chelsea, but perhaps not at the expense of one of England’s most intriguing young prospects.
There’s no denying that Hudson-Odoi has struggled to recover the hype of his pre-injury days, but his talent is still showing itself quietly. He may not be contributing directly in front of goal, but he’s still the club’s most progressive winger and the numbers back that up.
Hudson-Odoi managed a team-high 13.6 progressive carries (a dribble towards the goal) per 90 minutes last season. Mateo Kovacic was second on 9.55, with Christian Pulisic third with 8.86.
Nobody on Chelsea’s front line actually tries to make things happen as often as Hudson-Odoi (and it’s not even close), and someone with his skillset should be far more important to a Chelsea side that have been infamously ineffective creating goals.
Having said that, running towards the goal is all well and good, but actually doing something when you get there is a whole different question.
There’s no denying that, at the minute, Coman is the superior player, but he’s also five years older than Hudson-Odoi and just coming into his prime now. What’s to say the Chelsea man won’t have eclipsed that level when he hits 25?
Hudson-Odoi is obviously a work-in-progress, but Thomas Tuchel can help him add the skills he is missing. If the 20-year-old can add goals and assists to his devastating dribbling, he could be one of the most dangerous wingers in Europe.
It’s not ideal to be banking on significant progress from such a high earner, but that’s the world Chelsea are in now, and cashing out without allowing Hudson-Odoi a fair chance to blossom just doesn’t make sense, especially in a move which would actually end up costing Chelsea more money.
If Bayern decide to talk cash, then the situation could change, but a straight swap? Hard pass.