Forget Rugani: Making Ampadu & Christensen first-team stars should be the priority

Christmas time is upon us and the festive period denotes two things; a hectic series of fixtures, and the not too distant arrival of the transfer window. Despite being notoriously difficult to conduct business in January, it represents a welcomed opportunity to augment teams’ quality, and Chelsea are expected to be among the busier Premier League sides.

Life under Maurizio Sarri has progressed well, yet the Blues lack that additional quality to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League. Accordingly, several players have been linked with potential moves to Stamford Bridge over the last few months; one such player is Juventus’, Daniele Rugani.

It emerged that Chelsea were vying to sign the 24-year-old from Juventus in the summer transfer window, and reports have continued to link the London club with a prospective move for the defender in the new year.

Daniele Rugani in action for Italy

While Rugani is an accomplished defender, who has prior experience of playing under Maurizio Sarri’s leadership, a move for the Italian centre-back would be utterly foolish with two highly-gifted youngsters challenging for the same position in Chelsea’s side.

Both Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu have been earmarked as the future of Chelsea. In fact, many considered the latter to be mightily unfortunate not to maintain his starting status in the Blues’ team, especially as his skill set is so in-keeping with Sarri’s technical style of football.

Similarly, Ampadu made seven senior appearances for the Blues last season, and such has been his development, he has already attained six international caps for Wales – at the age of 18. Yet, he has been restricted to a measly two senior appearances for Chelsea this season, both of which came in the Europa League, and he only started in one of those games.

Historically, the Blues have been regraded for lavish and unnecessary spending, and to their credit, they’ve been far more conservative and pragmatic when conducting transfer business in recent seasons. However, such is the desperation for Sarri to rid himself of the burden of failing to win a trophy that Chelsea’s alleged interest in defenders is seemingly the product of this desire.

In the form of Christensen and Ampadu, Sarri has two highly technical players at his disposal, both of whom are endowed with great promise. The latter has already attained over 50 senior appearances for Chelsea, and at the age of 22, he’s reached a convenient stage to further his development and refine his skill set.

Ethan Ampadu in action against Hull City

Despite not being physically commanding, the Dane is proficient at winning aerial duels, and he is an excellent tackler. Moreover, and in the mould of Sarri’s desired defenders, the centre-back is accomplished with the ball at his feet, and he’s able to break defensive lines either through utilising his impressive range of passes or by dribbling with the ball.

For the meantime, it seems that Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz are Sarri’s favoured centre-back pairing, and there’s no refuting that the duo have formed a productive relationship this term. However, given his current ability and the measure of his potential, Christensen should be viewed as a starting centre-back for the Blues soon.

Andreas Christensen applauds Chelsea fans

By the same token, Ampadu has experienced a rapid ascension over the past 18 months, and the Welshman is one of the most accomplished and confident players in world football for his age. He has played at centre-back, at right-back and in midfield for club and country, and regardless of his position, he continues to play with his characteristic tenacity and maturity. Seldom do you see a player of his age command teammates on the pitch, continually in dialogue, uttering instructions at his superiors.

These are the players that Chelsea should look towards, and reward with more significant first-team involvement. Chelsea’s inability to integrate youth players has been well-documented, and thus, an analysis of previous mistakes would be somewhat obsolete. Nonetheless, both Sarri and the club should begin to place greater trust and emphasis on young talents – after all, they are the future leaders of the team.

Watch the video below to check out the hilarious things footballers get up to at Christmas…