Chelsea’s Tudor Mendel-Idowu could leave the club this summer with his contract running out and no sign of an extension being agreed.
It’s easy to throw around names in the academy and say that this player is going to be good and this player isn’t. But trust me when I say the excitement around what Tudor has done at Chelsea so far in the academy, especially this season, should make you realise that this guy is going to be special.
I’ve watched him a lot very recently and he’s the real deal. What I see from his talent is that he has the x-factor, he can make something happen from nothing and he dribbles past players for fun. He’s got incredible skills for his age and has the confidence to use them.
The 18-year-old winger can play anywhere across the attacking midfield positions and he really has it. But his contract ends this summer and it looks like he has decided to leave because he sees no development plan or pathway for him at Chelsea based on him wanting to move to a club with a plan for him, and who can blame him after this season?
He’s probably seeing Chelsea snapping up all the top talents of a similar age and wondering why they are not showing belief and faith in him and others instead. He will have seen what happened with Carney Chukwuemeka and David Datro Fofana this season and wonder what the clear plan and vision is at this club.
Of course, it’s wise for our club to get in some young talents, but they need to differentiate between talented young players and players who clearly can become world beaters, and Tudor is one of those – I don’t even need to be a scout to tell you this, my eyes tell me it when I watch him.
This is what annoys me with things like this. At this point right now, we had nothing to lose and nothing to play for, you could give him game time. You could put him on the bench in the first team squad during a time when his contract is running out and you are trying to get him to extend his contract.
So why not ensure he is put in to the squad and even give him his debut? You then show him how much he is valued by doing that. If we do not show them clear pathways, then we will lose them. And this is one player we will end up regretting losing, so much so that it could become another Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, or even Jamal Musiala situation in terms of regret – it genuinely could with Tudor.
It’s not like any of our other attackers or wingers have been playing well this season, is it? So why not show a leap of faith in a very talented young player instead? I know a lot of this is on the managers as well, but the club must do their bit to ensure there are chances made for these types of players, they must all form a collective balance with this, and I do believe we might see more of that with Mauricio Pochettino at the wheel – which does give me a bit more hope going forward.
Obviously, these contract situations are never straight forward and it will never just be one thing. But we need to honestly ask ourselves could we have done more to keep him at the club and if the answer is no, then we have been very foolish here.