Chelsea have a ‘magical’ transfer opportunity as Christopher Nkunku partner’s $44m dream comes up

Since Reece James stormed through the Championship in 2018/19 and took the Wigan captaincy as an 18-year-old on loan in his first foray into senior football, only nine other teenagers have hit 3,000 minutes in a 46-game season in the second division.

James’ rise at Chelsea came a year later alongside Mason Mount – one of the other nine – while Trevoh Chalobah graduated from being a perennial youth loanee to first-team player two seasons later. Since then, Ian Maatsen is one of five players to achieve such a feat after 2019/20.

He is now competing for a role in Mauricio Pochettino’s senior setup. Other names that jump out are Alex Scott – set for £25m plus a move to the Premier League from Bristol City – and Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp, who is now playing regular top-flight games.

For Blues fans, there is another who fits the bill and is of increasing interest. Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise.

Formerly a Cobham player himself, let go at the age of 14, as was Declan Rice, Olise is now an established Premier League star and is attracting interest from teams already in and competing for European places. At 21, he is now one of the most sought-after players in his position.

A left-footed right winger, something Chelsea certainly know a lot about having signed four of them in the past 12 months as well as losing development team Tudor Mendel-Idowu on a free and currently owning Hakim Ziyech, Olise is strongly linked with the club.

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He is a player who reflects many of Ziyech’s positive attributes with a high volume of crosses and take-ons from the right flank. He can cut back on his wicked left stick and seek out teammates across the park. His defensive skills are also among the best for wingers, and is in the top 15 percent for tackles, interceptions and blocks on FBREF.

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