Signing Carney Chukwuemeka – a coup for Chelsea

Swapnil
By Swapnil
7 Min Read
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In a surprising move that fans did not see coming, Chelsea have completed the signing of 18-year-old Aston Villa wonderkid Carney Chukwuemeka for a fee of £20m.

While almost all the top teams except for Manchester United and Chelsea seem to have wrapped up their business for the 2022-23 summer transfer window, in a move that no one saw coming Chelsea have acquired England u-19 international Carney Chukwuemeka. The Blues reportedly beat the likes of AC Milan & FC Barcelona for the services of the wonderkid.

Chukwuemeka was one of the most talked prospects in the European stage with Goal.com even naming him as one of the 50 wonderkids on GOAL’s annual NXGN list. Carney played a big role in England’s u19 EUROS triumph in Portugal which concluded just two days back. He was the top scorer for his side and the second top scorer in the tournament, even netting the goal that gave England the lead in the finals. His hardwork in the tournament was rewarded with a place in the Team of the Tournament.

Carney Chukwuemeka – BACKGROUND

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Carney joined Aston Villa’s academy aged 13 from Northampton Town. He signed his first professional contract with Villains in July 2020, making his first team debut in the 2-1 victory away against Tottenham Hotspur even hitting the woodwork minutes into his debut. The very next day, Carney played in Aston Villa’s u-18 team in the FA Youth Final against Liverpool which they won 3-1.

He was so impressive in his first start for the club against Brentford that Paul Merson called him “outstanding”, adding “he will be an absolute star”. Dealing with high praise and a winning mentality as orchestrated by wins in the youth level suggests he is a player that will surely take the challenge of playing for one of Europe’s prestigious clubs like a duck to the water. With 12 Premier League appearances under his belt with an assist in the Norwich game to add a cherry to the top, Carney looks ready for this new challenge.

HIS STYLE OF PLAY & WHAT CAN BRING TO HIS NEW SIDE?

Alex Crook of Talksport has indicated that he is going to be a part of the first team rather than the case of Omari Hutchinson who is going to be joining Reading reportedly on loan and Gabriel Slonina who is going back to Chicago Fire to complete his MLS domestic season.

Carney, who usually plays in the centre of the midfield, could also be deployed as an advanced player as well. This signing comes at a crucial juncture for Chelsea as they need some serious rebuild in the middle of the park. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are well over the age of 30 and have just a year left on their current deals. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been inconsistent with his performances while Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher like to play a bit more in the attacking areas of the pitch. So that leaves only Mateo Kovacic as a reliable option here.

The 18-year-old has all the traits in the top level of English football. He is extremely intelligent and his match awareness is really tough to have at this age. He mostly picks up the correct passes and has the athletic ability to drive his team forward and move along with his teammates into attacking positions. His pressing creates put his opposite number in a conundrum, forcing his opposite number to make a tough pass.

But as it was at the u-19’s EUROS, his greatest characteristic seems to be the ability to score goals. His trickery and dribbling abilities are forcing opposition players to go after him thereby distorting the shape of their side. This in turn allows him to pick his teammates to set up a goal or make an attempt at the goal itself.

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Villa’s sporting director Christian Purslow described Chukwuemeka as the best player in the country in his age group when he was 16 saying, “The ultimate goal is to populate the under-23 team with 11 outstanding 16, 17 and 18-year-olds, then I will know it’s working. And that will take years, not months. We need to be higher in recruiting the best eight-year-old, nine-year-old, 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, 14, 16, one a year that makes it and gets a professional contract at 16. I want that player. We have one right now, probably the best 16-year-old in England, Carney [Chukwuemeka]. Absolutely no debate, he’s starting for the under-23s.”

Carney Chukwuemeka will definitely need some polishing. He takes a lot of shots but if through proper coaching he understands what areas he needs to take his shots will be best it will improve his skill set very well. He also completed 81% of his 10 average passes (the sample size is a bit but it’s fine!) who needs to improve in a ball-dominant team such as Chelsea and with one of the best passers in Europe in Mateo Kovacic who averages around 47 passes on 90% in his entire career, he definitely can teach a thing or two.

CONCLUSION

While Chelsea have acted swiftly and concluded the deal, it will take some time for Carney to adjust to the demands of a manager like Thomas Tuchel. He will have to be ready to work his socks off to prove that needs to play in the Blues’ first-team squad. Carney is going up against players who have big nights in the UEFA Champions League but has all the skills needed to achieve his targets.

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