Football News

Mauricio Pochettino hints that Ugochukwu transfer was out of his hands

By Harry Edwards

Published: 10:29, 1 August 2023

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has shown signs of unhappiness with the Blues’ potential signing of Lesley Ugochukwu.

Pochettino has a large task on his hands rebuilding Chelsea after their disastrous 2022/23 campaign. In the first season of the Todd Boehly era, the Blues finished 12th in the Premier League, just 10 points clear of the relegation zone and a massive 27 behind fourth-placed Newcastle United.

It came despite the Blues spending big last summer and in the winter, including the £106.8m signing of Enzo Fernandez, perhaps the only new arrival that truly shone last season. Chelsea have been busy this summer too, in terms of incomings and outgoings.


The first arrival was Christopher Nkunku, signed for £51m in a deal that was already agreed before Christmas, and he has since been joined by Nicolas Jackson, Angelo Gabriel and Diego Moereira, the latter duo teenagers. But one position where Chelsea haven’t added players is in midfield, and they need to.

Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante have all gone from Chelsea’s midfield options last season, while Ethan Ampadu and Tiemoue Bakayoko have also left — not to mention Jorginho joining Arsenal in January. The Blues have been heavily linked with a move for Moises Caicedo and have reportedly been close to signing the Ecuadorian midfielder for a while, but negotiations remain ongoing between Chelsea and Brighton.

Chelsea are also reportedly close to signing another midfielder, Ugochukwu from Rennes, but the Frenchman is just 19 years old so doesn’t bring the experience the Blues need in the middle of the pitch. That much was made clear by Pochettino in a recent press conference, with the Argentinian showing signs of happiness.

“Also with midfield, if you add a 19-year-old is that okay? I think you’re still talking about, we need experience in midfield,” Pochettino told reporters when asked about Ugochukwu, who will go out on loan after signing.

“I have the information you have. My information is a player that is from France that maybe they sign with the idea to send on loan. The information was already in your laptop. If I say numbers I can create a problem.

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“For me it’s important, the club is working really hard to improve all of the areas, the right profiles to make the squad strong. The club is working really hard to find the right profile.”

On top of bolstering the midfield, Chelsea are also reportedly set to open talks with Juventus over a player swap move for Dusan Vlahovic that would see Romelu Lukaku join the Bianconeri. Chelsea are also being linked with a move for Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez to provide competition for Kepa Arrizabalaga.