To get a player that has yet to begin a Premier League match, increasing Chelsea celebrity Callum Hudson-Odoi has brought an awful lot of buzz this year.
That spotlight only grew brighter following his outstanding performances for England through the international break.
But it was seen whether Chelsea director Maurizio Sarri is convinced from the 18-year-old’s performances as a replacement against the Czech Republic and also on his full international debut against Montenegro.
Sarri is weighing up whether to mention the winger in his beginning line-up for Chelsea’s Premier League trip to struggling Cardiff on Sunday.
However, Sarri stays guarded in his praise of a young player that has come to be the focus of a substantial variety of Chelsea’s fans.
Plus it would surprise no one if the Italian refused to bow to popular pressure and named the child on the seat.
What’s becoming increasingly clear, however, is that Sarri’s handling of a player who’s already attracted bids from Bayern Munich last January could help form the director’s future at Stamford Bridge.
England had barely returned in the 5-1 success in Montenegro — a match where Hudson-Odoi was clearly one of the numerous players to be exposed to racial abuse from home fans — earlier reports were emerging linking the player using a lucrative move to Manchester United or Liverpool.
Sarri has tried to inject exactly what he sees as a note of sober realism to the discussion concerning the limited opportunities provided to a player who has climbed through Chelsea’s youth program and in the first team squad without even following the familiar path of spending some time away from the online loan.
Hudson-Odoi’s talent is clear, as is his ability to handle the step up to a higher level if his performances for England are anything to go by.
For Sarri, however, talent and potential aren’t sufficient as he looks for players to fit into the rigid roles in his tactical game-plan.
In Sarri’s eyes, the adolescent still has a substantial approach to travel along his learning curve.
Increasingly, however, it seems the Italian’s position will be analyzed as Chelsea struggle to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish or achievement from the Europa League.
Hudson-Odoi is clearly an advantage Chelsea does not wish to lose, but the youngster’s present contract runs only until the end of next year.
The intention is to tie the England international’s future, but Hudson-Odi has already voiced his impatience and needs for much more game-time by pressing the transfer to Bayern ahead of the turn of this year.
Overshadowing all team matters in Chelsea presently is that the danger of this two-window transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA after alleged breaches of rules in relation to the registering of numerous young players.
Chelsea will appeal the ban following month however Andreas Christensen, the youthful center-back that has failed to triumph over Sarri, claimed last week that players are told that they cannot leave while the danger of an embargo exists.
Add to the fact that thirty-somethings Pedro and Willian, the players Hudson-Odoi is trying to dislodge from the group, are also poised to enter the final year of the contracts, and also the situation for doing everything possible to be sure the youngster pledges his future to the club grows stronger.
Sarri’s standing at Chelsea has looked vulnerable for a while.
If he could win Hudson-Odoi’s loyalty and deliver the most out of the player in the final months of this year, his place will undoubtedly be bolstered.
Should he be viewed as having contributed to the death of their outstanding young talents in the Premier League, the Italian’s standing in Stamford Bridge will fall even farther.