Football News

Callum Hudson-Odoi’s “priceless” skills could halt Chelsea’s Wilfried Zaha transfer plans, says Pat Nevin

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 11:01, 8 January 2020

Pat Nevin believes Chelsea should not pursue Wilfried Zaha in the January transfer window as there’s someone with similar qualities already at the club.

The 27-year-old Crystal Palace forward has been heavily linked with a move away from Selhurst Park this month with the Blues among those linked.

Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea: Five key things to know…

  • Hudson-Odoi came through Chelsea’s academy and made his senior debut in January 2018 (FA Cup v Newcastle).
  • He’s since made 48 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring seven goals and registering nine assists.
  • Bayern Munich were heavily linked with him, but he’s opted to remain at Chelsea, recently signing a five-year deal.
  • Chelsea have recently been linked with Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha.
  • Blues legend Pat Nevin says they shouldn’t pursue him as Hudson-Odoi shares the same traits.

Zaha was touted for a switch from south London before the 2019/20 campaign got underway, but prospective moves to Arsenal and then Everton never materialised, the former opting for compatriot Nicolas Pépé.

He’s subsequently kept his head down and remained Palace’s most dangerous player, however, playing elsewhere this season seems to be a priority especially as Zaha recently hired influential agent Pini Zahavi.

Among the many clubs associated with the £80m-rated winger are Chelsea, who aren’t exactly short on wide players, which immediately puts any deal in doubt, though that hasn’t stopped those rumours. According to the Times, the Blues are all set to table an offer for Zaha in the current window.

After watching a man-of-the-match display by Callum Hudson-Odoi, who less than a year ago was being coveted by Bayern Munich, against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round, club legend Nevin feels the 19-year-old England international can kick-start his Chelsea career and given he can master what Frank Lampard’s side have been missing against smaller teams — the same skill Zaha could offer — there’s no point forking out a fortune for Palace’s main man.

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“Callum has many talents, but that ability to go past defenders and disrupt organised defences is priceless in the modern game,” he told the club’s official website.

“Actually, it has always been important but it is all the more noticeable now there are fewer players who can actually do it regularly.

“This is the thing we have been missing more than anything else, at home particularly. A player who can drive past two or three defenders will be needed if we are to kill off the stuffy teams such as Bournemouth and Southampton among others. Maybe in Callum, we already have this player at the club, even if the likes of Wilfried Zaha have been mentioned in dispatches.”

On Hudson-Odoi’s tough road back to fitness following an Achilles tendon injury, Nevin added: “It hasn’t been easy for Callum to get back to his sharpest self in matches and I suspect there are several reasons for that.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Martin Montoya (left) and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

“Coming back from injury, especially a serious one, is different for every single player. When it is the first major injury of your pro career it can play with your mind a bit.”

“With any luck, that is him back and he will not have to consider that injury and those painful times again. The other thing, of course, was that while he was recuperating, other youngsters were stepping into his shoes, actually, that should be ‘boots’ obviously.”