Chelsea have successfully beaten off their competition from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United to sign the exciting Ecuadorian wonderkid Kendry Paez, his current club Independiente del Valle have confirmed.
The 16-year-old was a highly scouted and sought player and Chelsea have managed to secure his services at £17.5 m with the youngster joining the club in 2025 when he turns 18. Independiente del Valle director Santiago Morales confirmed the agreement saying, “Today, I can say that Kendry Paez, in two years’ time, will go to Chelsea. We received offers from Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United, Chelsea were the team that showed the most interest.”
Independiente director: “Today, I can say that Kendry Páez will be Chelsea player in 2025”. 🔵🇪🇨 #CFC
“We received bids from Man United and Borussia Dortmund but Chelsea showed super interest”, told @ElCanalDFutbol.
Kendry Páez deal, done and sealed as reported weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/o2PqMtj3N1
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 18, 2023
The signing sees Chelsea continue their policy of signing players at a very young age. Let’s take a look at the youngster’s profile and what makes him an exciting signing for the club:
EARLY YEARS IN ECUADOR
Kendry Páez was born on the 4th of May in 2007 in Guayaquil. At the age of 11, the talented midfielder was picked up by Independiente del Valle. He quickly managed to outplay the players at his age and has progressed through the academy playing in every age gap from 2018 to 2022. He has taken part in u-15s, u-17s and u-19s at the league level but also he has gone on to play tournaments hosted for young players like Copa Milo, hosted by Independiente del Valle, Adidas Cup, hosted by Flamengo & Next Generation Trophy, hosted by RB Salzburg. Scouts from clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Borussia Dortmund were in attendance for Independientes’ U18s Copa Milo win where the young star scored twice against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.
PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES, POSITION AND PLAYING STYLE:
At age 15, Kendry stands at 5’8 (173cm) and he will continue to grow through his teen years. This gives him an advantage over his opposite number where he dominates on the ground and aerially with much ease as his deceivingly lean body has a very strong lower body strength. Due to his stature he is already winning his duels with his older opponents and added to that explosive burst of acceleration and low centre of gravity means the opposite number will have a nightmare marking him.
Paez is a modern-day attacking midfielder with great technical ability. Primarily he plays on the right-side of the midfield predominantly doing his work in the final third of the opponents half. His excellent vision allows him to be a great passer of the ball and he can make plays from a dead ball situation thanks to that strong left foot of his. Páez’s proficiency in shooting from long-range and his exceptional finishing skills make him a formidable threat in the attacking third.
The Ecuadorian midfielder’s mentality is another strong asset for him with his coach saying that: “In Kendry we find someone daring. A boy who asks for it. He is 15 years old and he doesn’t care who is in front of him, and he asks for it,” he told Ole recently. He is a different type of player. It is the first time that I have seen such a small boy and that…’Well, let’s see, what are you made of’, and he shows you, he challenges you. It is not normal for a 15-year-old boy in the first division to have earned the respect of the soccer world in such a short time. He runs, recovers, interprets the game, and he is very intelligent. When we ask him to get into a certain position to generate an advantage, he does it. All his movements are trained, he takes them carried out perfectly, understands the game very well and is a guy who is very down to earth in all those ways”.
Paez looks up to former Independiente winger Gonzalo Plata and Lionel Messi to improve upon his dribbling and ball-playing skills. He has chosen examples and it does show on the pitch when Independiente del Valle are in possession he likes to drop deep very often while also trying to move into space very often, demanding the ball and making big runs in space of a few seconds. These traits will be a factor when the manager of Chelsea wants to have a player on the pitch who will be like his quarter-back and tight end.
Paez is blessed with great physical attributes and great technical skills but one thing he needs to work on is his discipline. For instance, the Ecuadorian was booked on his Independiente first-team debut and picked up a straight red card before the hour mark against Chile at the South American U-17 Championship for kicking an opponent. Also when we talked about his mentality, we spoke about how it helps to drive him but it has also seen Paez being super hard on himself and his teammates. He often holds on to the ball for far too long and it has allowed his opponents to capitalize on his mistakes and refusing to track back when he commits those errors. But someone like Mauricio Pochettino if he manages to get the chance to coach Paez could do wonders with a player like him and help him reduce these negatives and maximize his abilities as an attacking player.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR KENDRY PAEZ
When we look at his playing styles and patterns of play he profiles very similar to FC Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala, someone who himself was a Cobham graduate and to some extent RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai. Both the league stars do not possess the gifts Kendry Paez has but the end product of these stars is excellent.
If the Ecuadorian can reach the level of a Szoboszlai or Musiala then he definitely helps his teams on the attacking front providing multiple goals and assists year after year. Target Scouting writes that this player is on par in terms of skills with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo. So that is a huge talent we are talking about and the Blues have managed to get their hands on him before any other team in Europe could. As Todd Boehly continues his spending to take Chelsea Football Club back to the heights of 2021, this player could just be another great signing, and fans from rival clubs might scratch their heads on how their teams managed to miss such a great star.