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Chelsea could unearth the next William Saliba in Levi Colwill

Chelsea have signed Wesley Fofana from Leicester City for £75m, Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33m and Benoit Badiashile from AS Monaco for £35m since Todd Boehly assumed the ownership role at the club last year, but could find the catalyst for defensive security in homegrown talent Levi Colwill.

Indeed, the precocious rising star is thriving out on loan at fellow Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion, undoubtedly gifted to the Seagulls on a temporary basis to pave the foundation for a successful career in the English top-flight, with eventual plans to incorporate the 19-year-old into the first-team fold at Stamford Bridge.

If weaselling his way into contention on the South Coast was the test, Colwill passed with flying colours.

With the 2022/23 season roughly at its midpoint, the ace has made 12 appearances across all competitions, initially playing a peripheral role before indeed earning the trust of Roberto de Zerbi and starting the past five league fixtures.

The “rising talent” – as hailed by The Athletic’s Simon Johnson – has completed 90% of his passes in the Premier League for Brighton, as per Sofascore, while also making 0.9 interceptions and 2.0 clearances per game, and appears to be cementing his stature as a regular name on the team-sheet.

Arguably his most impressive performance came in his last outing, where the outfit monumentally dispatched Liverpool 3-0 at the AMEX Stadium.

Recording a match rating of 7.5, Colwill was integral in rebuffing the flimsy Reds attack, completing 93% of his passes, making two clearances and winning three of his four duels, also displaying a creative sheen to his arsenal that will leave Potter impressed, creating one big chance.

Could Levi Colwill start for Chelsea?

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With Chelsea’s perilous position in the Premier League this term, having plummeted to tenth place and fallen to defeat across seven of the past 11 matches across all competitions, Colwill is demonstrating his aptitude with a Brighton side that actually perch above the Blues in the table, sitting within European contention in seventh place and having previously drubbed Chelsea 4-1 in what was Potter’s managerial debut for the west London outfit after departing from Brighton, who exacted revenge in devastating fashion.

And as per FBref, he ranks among the top 3% of centre-backs for attempted passes, the top 12% for aerials won and the top 19% for shot-creating actions when compared to those plying their trade within Europe’s big five leagues, despite his inexperience.

He is comparable to Arsenal’s rising star William Saliba, who ranks among the top 3% of defenders for pass completion and the top 6% for dribbles completed.

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With the French Saliba earning plaudits for his role in Arsenal’s brilliance this season – the Gunners perch atop the Premier League table and look the most arresting outfit in the season, regarding the slick, seamless style of their play – Colwill can continue to rise into his own with the Seagulls, perhaps earning a shot at Stamford Bridge in the future and biding his time, much like his peer across London in Saliba.

While certain members of the Chelsea fanbase might yearn for an exciting young star such as Colwill at present, allowing him to continue his development at Brighton is a move that will bear eventual fruit; Chelsea are rebuilding with a wealth of fresh faces, and while targeting high-profile names often works out, it would be a travesty to ignore a burgeoning teenage talent such as Colwill, who must one day be allowed to don the Chelsea shirt and cement his legacy at the club.