Football News

Chelsea transfers: How Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall compares to the Blue he’s tipped to replace

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:30, 4 July 2024

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall aims to incorporate the qualities of four Chelsea greats following his move from Leicester City.

The midfielder, who reunites with Blues head coach Enzo Maresca, became the club’s fourth acquisition this summer.

Dewsbury-Hall enjoyed a prolific campaign with the Foxes, netting 12 goals as they secured Premier League promotion as Championship winners.

Having been linked to Brighton and Brentford, it’s Chelsea who secured his signature, and given his relationship with Maresca, there’s every chance he will feature prominently in the forthcoming season.

Maresca was named Mauricio Pochettino’s successor after the Argentine tactician made a shocking resignation announcement following one season at Stamford Bridge.

Early reports suggested a conflict in philosophies that could rear its ugly head during the 2024/25 campaign, allowing both parties to separate. No sooner had he left than a slew of coaches were linked with the high-profile role.

Marseca, a former disciple of Pep Guardiola, won out following an impressive display leading the aforementioned Foxes, with the powers that be in West London feeling his vision aligned with theirs as Chelsea seek to rub shoulders with English football’s leaders.

Despite a strong finish, the Blues ended in sixth place, which secured Conference League football, but their ownership understandably wanted more considering how much they had invested in Chelsea’s playing squad.

Dewsbury-Hall is the most recent addition under the new ownership led by American businessman Todd Boehly, which includes over 30 new players. His arrival could potentially coincide with homegrown talent Conor Gallagher departing, as his present deal expires next summer albeit a contract extension hasn’t been ruled out.

Chelsea supporters, however, received a glimpse of Dewsbury-Hall’s potential as a midfielder when the club’s official website interviewed the 25-year-old.

“There are quite a lot of Chelsea players that I grew up watching,” he began.

“The obvious one’s [Frank] Lampard. Goalscoring midfielder. Something that I like to try and implement in my game now. But also players like Fabregas and Mata. Just top quality players that played for the club.

“And Kante. Obviously. I was at Leicester with him. I was in as a scholar while he was the first team, so seeing him progress and move on and do great things in the club just gives me extra motivation to try and do a similar sort of thing.”

Capable of playing multiple positions, Dewsbury-Hall has been utilized in seven different roles: as an attacking, defensive, and central midfielder; left and right wing-back; deep-lying forward (or number ten); and striker.

In the Championship season just gone, Maresca predominantly deployed him in central midfield, where he bagged nine goals and created ten more.

“Kiernan is probably the player that, since we have started, has improved more than the rest,” Maresca said last November, five months after he took on the Leicester job.

“He has the calmness that that kind of player needs. He’s fantastic with the ball, he knows when to attack and what to give the team. He is so dangerous near the box and has the quality to score or assist from anywhere.”

No stranger to Premier League action, he’s previously made 59 appearances in English football’s top competition, subsequently registering three goals and four assists.

As mentioned, Gallagher could still end up being teammates with Dewsbury-Hall, as the Blues view the former as more defensive and box-to-box — à la the role Wilfred Ndidi performed at Leicester — while Dewsbury-Hall is considered to be more of an attacking midfielder, thriving in the CM/No. 8 position with a license to get very high up the pitch.

Although there are differences between the pair, there is enough overlap to reasonably conclude that Dewsbury-Hall’s signing makes the idea of letting Gallagher go more acceptable.

Dewsbury-Hall’s outstanding talent in leading Maresca’s press from the front makes him a crucial asset, offsetting the possible absence of Gallagher’s valuable on-field skill. What’s more, he’s incredibly resilient, with just one missed game due to injury since his debut for Leicester in January 2020.

Moreover, there’s a clear financial upside. Dewsbury-Hall, coming from the Championship, is likely earning far less than what it would take to re-sign Gallagher following his best-ever season.