Sarri Facing A Losing Battle In Sweet Talking Hudson-Odoi To Stay At Chelseaby Andy Dillon / 14 January 2019, 15:54Tweet
GAME-CHANGING is what it is all about this season.
Last season it was the high press and dry tactical philosophies but now it is about players who are resetting the agenda.
Raheem Sterling has been anointed with such an honour this season for the way he reacted to alleged racist abuse from Chelsea fans some weeks back.
While that has been significant in a vastly different way, the ultimate game-changer 2018 title should be awarded to Jadon Sancho.
This is the kid who had the balls to turn around to Manchester City and tell them he was not content sitting around waiting for a chance that might never come.
The winger who said no to Pep Guardiola and packed his bags to join Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s Bundesliga.
Last August, he backed himself to the hilt and took the plunge with and moved to what Premier League snobs would consider an inferior league.
Just five months later Sancho’s impressive self-confidence and courage has triggered a domino effect that is shaking our top clubs to the core.
None more so than at Chelsea who are fighting a losing battle to hold on to ambitious Callum Hudson-Odoi.
A winger like Sancho and the two are good mates. Both Londoners and have been polished by two of the best academies in the business.
But while City have been able to whether the loss of Sancho, his trailblazing move is now making his peers sit up and take a look around at what else is out there other than the onset of frustration.
Chelsea but more recently City have become renowned for hoovering up the best players in the open market instead of promoting youth from within.
It’s not such a big deal for Guardiola at City because his team is still challenging for the title.
Glory tends to pacify fed-up supporters weary of watching the next big foreign name come through the revolving door at the Etihad Stadium.
But Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is scrapping for fourth and his boss at Stamford Bridge, Roman Abramovich, is not the spend-it-quick, have-it-now grasping title hoarder he once was.
For Chelsea it’s now about patient building. Laughable when you think that this is the club that has ploughed through nine full-time, permanent managers in the 16 years since Abramovich bought the club.
It was once all about a ruthless pursuit of silverware at any cost, financial or human. As a result the long-term investment, financial and human, required to bring through youth team players was overlooked.
Chelsea fans sang Hudson-Odoi’s name on Saturday - adding ‘we want you to stay’. It was a desperate plea and it must have chilled those directors at Stamford Bridge to watch the unconvincing 2-1 win over Newcastle every time it rang out.
Hudson-Odoi has finally put the willies up Chelsea. A brand new contract is on the table but it still isn’t enough to keep him happy.
Sarri is doing his best - the teenager started the previous two games for Chelsea and got ten minutes at the weekend.
But it all just seems like too little too late. Hudson-Odoi has seen what Sancho had achieved - a full England call-up since leaving City - and he understandably wants a piece of that.
The money on offer from Chelsea is no longer enough to keep their young players happy to be loaned out or mothballed.
Hudson-Odoi is only 18 but has seen what has happened to dozens of players before him who have worked their socks off but failed to break through the glass ceiling at Chelsea.
It’s not the club’s academy at fault. That is a football factory producing player after player capable of competing at any level of the game.
The blame lies squarely at the feet of Roman Abramovich and his failure to see that slamming a lid on a bubbling pot of talent will only result in it boiling over eventually.
Despite all the hoo-ha Hudson-Odoi has still only played three full matches for Chelsea’s first team.
Gutsy Sancho is the game-changer who has started a mini-revolution in youth team football.