Nearly every Chelsea fan is delighted with the news that Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed a new multi-year deal.
The 18-year-old is perhaps the brightest prospect to come out of Chelsea’s very successful academy set up.
Last season was Hudson-Odoi’s break through year, coming into Marizio Sarri’s team, first in the Europa League and then in the Premier League.
Hudson-Odoi, whilst clearly a great prospect, still needs time to develop into the talent people believe him to be.
So what on earth made him worth £120,000 a week?!
Is it just because Bayern Munich are interested and we’re scared of losing him for nothing? Or do they fear the worst for their transfer ban?
The fact is, he’s done nothing to deserve that pay packet, which would make him the highest paid youngster in the England and he’s not even scored a Premier League goal.
Chelsea have been held to ransom by a teenager and his agent brother.
Sure if you want the best you’ve got to pay for it, but Hudson-Odoi isn’t even fully developed yet, there’s no guarantee that he’ll even reach the levels that people are expecting.
More importantly though, is the precedent it sets for everyone else at the club.
If a 18-year-old, without a League goal to his name is worth £120,000 a week, where does that leave Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Andreas Christensen, Kepa Arrizabalaga and a whole host of others.
N’Golo Kante recently signed a new deal worth £290,000 per week, and he’s literally won it all, including a World Cup.
You should have to earn your way up to the top. Not be put on a pedestal for being a bright talent.
What’s he going to have to work for? By the time he’s 20 he’ll have enough to retire and never have to worry about money.
It also provides a direct contradiction to Frank Lampard’s comments that he only wants players that are fully committed to the club.
It wasn’t long ago that Hudson-Odoi was handing in a transfer request, asking to leave to join Bayern Munich.
Does he now want to stay because he believes in the manager and the prospects of first team football? Or because he’s been offered a King’s ransom?
Either way, Hudson-Odoi is going to make this team stronger, and under the tutorage of Lampard/Morris et al, he can only get better.
However, the club have severely weakened their hand when they go to 1) renew existing contracts and 2) back into the transfer market.
We’re undoubtedly going to need to sign a new centre forward, and the wage demands will be astronomical.
If a promising youngster is worth £200,000 a week, what will an established centre forward be asking for?
For a club that has tried to be extremely frugal with its business activities, this could be one expensive contract.
Some Chelsea fans believe he’s worth it, and one of our own, who is, in their eyes, going to become one of the best in the world, and fully deserves this pay packet.
However some Chelsea fans, myself included, were disappointed in his attitude and application, pushing for a transfer because, despite being unproven, he believed that he should have been a regular starter.
That ego/belief is a good thing, he’ll need it at the top level, but he also should have shown a little more respect and humility towards the club that has helped raise him.
If he loved the club, he’d have signed any contract a long time ago, the fact this negotiation has dragged on so long has shown its more about the financial details then the playing ones.
Sensing Chelsea in a position of weakness has allowed this to happen, and of course he has every right to do so, but you’d expect “one of our own” to show a bit more love towards the club.
Maybe I’m being a bit naive, thinking a professional footballer would look at things the same way a fan would, but I thought that’s what Lampard wanted, not players who are just “passing through”.
I wish and I hope that Callum has a long and successful Chelsea career, but for me, he’s got a long way to go before I start to believe he is really is one of us.
Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu