Chelsea fans will really be struggling to find a way to get over the fact that Eden Hazard is almost certainly going to be leaving Stamford Bridge before the end of the summer. Replacing the Belgian will undoubtedly be the toughest task Roman Abramovic has faced at Chelsea, but could the man to do it already be at the club?
He may only be young, but Callum Hudson-Odoi is one of those players who makes you sit up and take notice. The 18-year-old is already one who has attracted interest from Europe, as Chelsea had to fight off interest from Bayern Munich, rejecting a £35m bid for him in January (Sky Sports).
It helps that he’s made a fast start too, with six goals and seven assists to his name this season (Transfermarkt).
The Blues did well to hold onto Hudson-Odoi, and with the teenage sensation now a Europa League winner at the club, he’s set to sign a new five-year contract (Evening Standard) and it’s time he was seriously considered as the heir to Hazard’s throne.
Replacing Hazard will not be easy and whoever gets the tag will face enormous pressure, but Hudson-Odoi is more than good enough to be the new main man at Stamford Bridge.
The 18-year-old is well on his way to matching the kind of numbers that Hazard posts on a regular basis. Across the last 12 months Hazard has averaged 5.9 dribbles and 2.7 key passes per game (WhoScored). Hudson-Odoi has been much worse, but his totals of 2.8 dribbles and 1.3 key passes per game (WhoScored) are still mightily impressive at his age, and suggest he could develop to the Belgian’s level if afforded the chance.
This is Hudson-Odoi’s first season in senior football, so with time and experience there really is no reason why the teenager cannot become the player that Hazard has been for so long. For now, whilst he recovers from his ruptured achilles, it will just be important that he keeps developing.
The overlapping time that Hudson-Odoi and Hazard have had at the club will likely be invaluable for the teenager too. The English starlet has had one of the best dribblers in the game to learn from, and he could become the man that the Blues look to for inspiration over the years if he continues to develop.