In 2017, Chelsea’s head of youth recruitment, Neil Bath, revealed that youth products must play between 150 and 200 first-team games to be ready to play for the club’s senior side. With almost 130, Tammy Abraham is still behind but his goals aren’t.
With 26 goals to his name on loan to Aston Villa, Abraham is deserving of a regular spot for a Premier League side next season. The Blues should offer him that chance.
Arriving at U8 level, the Camberwell-born forward progressed through the academy system at Stamford Bridge and was part of the Chelsea side that recorded back-to-back triumphs in the UEFA Youth League and FA Youth Cup in 2015 and 2016. In the former, he managed to notch eight goals in nine matches, making him the tournament’s highest goal scorer.
During both 2014/15 and 2015/16, Abraham scored a whopping 74 goals in all competitions for the youth team. His record was not unseen by the then interim manager, Guus Hiddink, who invited the England youngster to train with the senior team.
Abraham was given his Chelsea debut in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League as a substitute before making his home debut the following week again as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Premier League Champions, Leicester City. The following summer was one of speculation for the 21-year-old, with a number of clubs desperate for the opportunity to secure him on loan. He picked Bristol City in August 2016.
The 21-year-old netted 23 five goals in 41 league appearances for Bristol. Yet the Blues didn’t take notice. Abraham was offered Premier League promised land by Swansea. He obliged. However, five strikes in 31 matches shoved him further from Chelsea to Aston Villa.
At Villa Park, Abraham’s influence has been priceless. Together with Jack Grealish and a host of the talented crop, The Claret & Blue Army is already dreaming of the elite division.
The Telegraph reported Aston Villa will offer £25 million for Abraham if they win promotion to the Premier League. With a transfer ban still looming at Stamford Bridge, there is no guarantee the Blues will let him go on a permanent basis. It will be a slip if they do.
Abraham is a complete poacher. He hoovers up scraps in the penalty box and finishes half-chances with deadly ingenuity while utilising great movement to flummox centre-backs and create space. His wiry frame means he can wall off defenders and protect the ball, making him a pivot from whom you can play off when building attacks.
Abraham’s willingness to filter wide and use the space on the flanks is a big positive. He is happy to move around and hunt areas to drop into, testing his strength against different. An incredibly well-rounded striking prospect, there is no doubt that Abraham is ready for this Premier League step. These traits are uncommon at Chelsea.
Gonzalo Higuain didn’t reach peak level. The Argentinean signed on loan from Juventus buried just five efforts – 21 fewer than Abraham. More often than not, he cast a frustrated figure, dropping down to the middle to join the buildup.
An incredibly well-rounded striking prospect, there is no doubt that Abraham is ready for this Premier League step. The time is now.
Written by Toby Prince
Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby
Like O-Posts on Facebook
You can also follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts