Callum Hudson-Odoi to Fulham: From Bayern target to career rebuild at Cottagers

Vatsal Gupta
By Vatsal Gupta
6 Min Read

It was just in 2020 that Chelsea were rejecting £70 million bids for Callum Hudson-Odoi. The German giants looked at the Chelsea academy graduate as one of the faces of their next great team and were willing to go above and beyond for his signature.

Unfortunately for them, Chelsea rated him as highly as them, and those bids were rejected.

Fast forward three years and the same player is close to moving to Fulham after failing to impress at Bayer Leverkusen in Bundesliga. Forget about Bayern Munich, he couldn’t even convince Leverkusen to make a move for him.

However, the talent is clearly there. Still aged just 22, the move to Fulham could be the spark that reignites a career that looked to be faltering after the spell at Leverkusen.

After all, this is a player who played 37 games as a teenager at Chelsea, a club infamous for trusting the youth before Frank Lampard came in.

Hudson-Odoi, also known by his initials CHO, has ended up as a player whose versatility has been a bane instead of a boon. Forced to shift between various positions, he has never been able to nail down a permanent place where he can thrive. There isn’t a position in the attacking third of the pitch he hasn’t played at.

In many ways, Fulham is the best club to rejuvenate his career. Here’s why –

Tactical clarity and Marco Silva

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Fulham manager Marco Silva’s career has also mirrored Hudson-Odoi’s, although the rejuvenation has already happened in Silva’s case. Silva was once touted as the next big thing coming out of Portugal and after an encouraging spell at Hull, did wonders with Watford, then Everton.

However, wanting to move up the ladder too quickly led to him crashing down. Now, he has built up his reputation again at Fulham, punctuated by their brilliant performance in the league last year.

Therefore, CHO will find a kindred spirit in Silva.

His counter-attacking, pacy style of play will suit Hudson-Odoi to a tee. In Aleksandar Mitrovic, he will have a player to link play with upfront.

After all the shifts in positions, CHO’s best position looks to be on the left wing, from where he can cut inside and unleash shots while also having the ability to play slide rule passes into the box for midfielders breaking through from deep.

At Fulham, that place is vacant, except for Ivan Cavaleiro returning from loan at Alanyaspor.

Therefore, right off the bat, CHO will have clarity on his role. Sometimes, all a player needs is that clarity and he can thrive. One wouldn’t be wise to bet against the same happening with Hudson-Odoi.

Fulham – Place for rejuvenation

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Fulham’s last merry-go-round in the Premier League was a disaster. Large sums were spent on declining players who came in on huge wages. The result was a ballooned wage bill, a squad lacking quality, and relegation to the Championship.

Tony Khan and Co. have learned their lesson. Signings like Willian are still made, but they serve as the experience topping on players who were discarded by other clubs but still had a lot of value.

Andreas Pereira is a prime example. Bought from Manchester United after he was ridiculed there, he was a man reborn in Fulham colours.

Again, the clarity in his role- the No 10 who was the set-piece king- allowed Pereira to thrive and his off-the-ball pressing complemented Mitrovic’s playing style perfectly.

Other players like Sasa Lukic, Kenny Tete, and Joao Palhinha played their best football with Fulham in Silva’s system.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, in his current predicament, is a distressed asset like Pereira was when he left United. A signing of a distressed asset is always relatively risk-free.

Either it works out and the return on your investment grows exponentially in quick time. Or it doesn’t, in which case you can write off that investment because it didn’t cost much anyways.

For CHO, that potential ROI is too big. He has already shown that he is a PL-level player by establishing himself in the Chelsea first team at 19. Now, he just needs a manager who backs him, gives him positional clarity, and allows him to show off his talents on the pitch.

There’s no better team for him to achieve that than Fulham, where the manager will relate to him, a key player shares the same story, and the team is on the rise.

They already overachieved last season, and maybe they could even “do a Brighton” in the 2023/24 season if Hudson-Odoi starts making good on his promise.

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