Liverpool continue to monitor Levi Colwill’s situation at Chelsea as the centre-back prepares for talks with Mauricio Pochettino.
Reports in London claim the Reds have made ‘several enquiries’ for the England Under-21 international, who has just won the European Championship with the Young Lions. However, Chelsea are not interested in selling the 20-year-old following his return from a season-long loan at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Still, the defender’s future is uncertain and his talks with his new manager when he reports for pre-season are likely to determine what happens next.
Colwill made 22 appearances for the Seagulls last season, having made 32 appearances during a year-long temporary spell with Huddersfield Town in the Championship in 2021/22. But to make his Chelsea debut, the 20-year-old just wants to play.
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“I want to talk to my family, talk to everyone I need to and make a decision,” Colwill said of his future after the European Under-21 final. “I have to play at the end of the day to hopefully get there (England senior team) and go to the next camp.”
Meanwhile, ahead of talks with the defender, Pochettino recently explained, “I have to get a feel for him. I have to hear what’s on his mind. What he expects. And then, of course, that he listens to what I expect from him.”
Chelsea want Colwill to sign a new long-term deal at Stamford Bridge, while his current deal, which expires in 2025, includes an option for the club to extend by a year if he plays a certain number of games?
But will he get enough playing opportunities to both persuade him to stay and at least trigger that clause? By the sounds of it, the defender isn’t convinced and his future remains up in the air as a result.
Although Chelsea are keen to retain his services now, their trigger-happy transfer activity in the past year has left him questioning his future at Stamford Bridge.
Following his loan move to Huddersfield in 2021/22, the centre-back returned to Chelsea hungry to impress in pre-season last summer. Yet, the athletic reports that he is left feeling like he was just there to make up numbers, with manager Thomas Tuchel barely speaking to him as he felt increasingly unwanted.
Chelsea were in talks to sign Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig last summer, only for the deal to collapse as the Bundesliga side continued to raise their asking price. Instead, they would sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli in a £33m deal, with both pursuits ultimately sending a message to Colwill.
When the Londoners signed full-back Marc Cucurella, who can also play at centre-back in a back-three, from Brighton for £56m. in August 2022, the athletic reports that they were lucky not to lose an unhappy Colwill permanently as part of the deal. Instead, he would only go on loan, with the Seagulls, who have had bids rejected, now competing with Liverpool, if the 20-year-old becomes available for transfer.
After beckoning from central defense to the south coast, they signed Wesley Fofana from Leicester City in a £70m deal before landing Benoit Badiashile from Monaco for £35m in January. If you want to convince a highly-rated young player that he has a future at your club, spending £192m on four players who will play the same position is probably not the way to go.
Granted, Koulibaly would ultimately only last one season at Stamford Bridge. Sold to Al-Hilal for around £20m last month, reports claims Chelsea’s willingness to offload the well-paid Senegalese was partly to offer more guarantees to Colwill.
With club captain Cesar Axpilicueta also heading to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer, Chelsea are certainly starting to free up space in defence. The only problem for the Liverpool target is that Pochettino still boasts Fofana, Badiashile, Thiago Silva, Trevor Chalobah and Malang Sarr as senior centre-backs in his first-team squad.
Meanwhile, both Reece James and Cucurella remain options in a back three, although Pochettino ultimately prefers a traditional back four. Regardless of the system, the competition for places in central defense at Stamford Bridge is steep.
And while Thiago Silva is 38 years old, Fofana and Badiashile are both 22, with Chalobah and Sarr at 24. Chelsea have already bought a £105m centre-back pair for the future, which Colwill will have to break to get. opportunities he wants.
Having failed to qualify for Europe this season, rotation options will also be limited. Is waiting in the wings hoping for increased scraps, waiting for soon-to-be 39-year-old Thiago Silva to move on or retire, really a prospect that will appeal to the young centre-back?
In contrast, if he were to join Liverpool, he would get certain starting opportunities in the Europa League and both domestic cups, as well as offer Andy Robertson a rotational option in the left-back/left-centre-back hybrid role. He would also be groomed as the long-term replacement for Virgil van Dijk.
Having already lost Mason Mount to Manchester United after a year of making the midfielder feel unwanted, Chelsea will hope Pochettino is better equipped to prevent fellow academy graduate Colwill from feeling the same way and following in the England international’s footsteps .
Of course, it is in Chelsea’s interest to retain Colwill’s services, but that doesn’t mean that staying put would be the best decision for the defender himself.
Moving Koulibaly is a start to make room for the centre-back, but the fact he was signed in the first place last summer at the expense of Colwill, only to be moved after just one year, shows the chaotic lack of strikers. -scheduling at Stamford Bridge in the first instance. There is obviously still plenty to iron out in talks between the player and Pochettino before he makes a decision on his future one way or the other.
In the meantime, Liverpool can only continue to monitor their situation and wait for a potential opening.