Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has likened Callum Hudson-Odoi to World Cup winner and Paris Saint-Germain marvel Kylian Mbappe.
Hudson-Odoi was the subject of fervent interest from Bayern Munich in January but ultimately stayed put after the west London club rejected a series of bids for the teenager.
How does Hudson-Odoi compare to Mbappe? Five key things to know…
- At 18, Mbappe was already an established member of Monaco’s starting XI, scoring 15 goals en route to the 2016/17 Ligue 1 title.
- His rise to prominence prompted PSG to make him the most expensive teenager ever after signing him – initially on-loan – at 18.
- Hudson-Odoi hasn’t made the same impact as his French contemporary, playing just 18 first-team matches to date.
- Despite this, Hudson-Odoi is recognised as one of the hottest prospects in world football.
- Such is his potential, Bayern were willing to part with a huge fee for his services – despite the teenager not yet starting a league game this season.
With results not working in Sarri’s favour of late, there is a growing frustration among Chelsea fans towards the Italian’s reluctance to utilise the teenage sensation.
Instead, Sarri has preferred to use Willian in his starting XI, with Pedro serving as the Brazilian’s like-for-like replacement, reserving Hudson-Odoi for the Europa League and sporadic appearances.
However, when he has featured, the talented tyro has often left Chelsea fans in awe of his natural talent and maturity, prompting further questions of Sarri’s decision-making and team selection.
The Italian has proven stubborn with his tactics and unwilling to cave in to public pressure from the terraces, but Giroud – who has played alongside both Mbappe and Hudson-Odoi – believes his current team-mate is comparable to one of the hottest commodities in world football.
Giroud said (via Le10Sport): “Callum Hudson-Odoi is a very talented young player who resembles Kylian Mbappe.”
The Frenchman’s comments are unlikely to go down well with Chelsea fans, as Giroud has clearly seen enough on the training ground to make the comparison. The question then is: why hasn’t Sarri?
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Could Hudson-Odoi be set to stay?
With football’s world governing body, Fifa, recently issuing a two-window transfer ban on Chelsea for breaching rules over youth signings, could Hudson-Odoi be tempted to abandon his pursuit of a Bayern move?
As things stand the west London club have the right to appeal and they are currently undertaking the required steps to do so, though such actions may only delay the embargo.
Should the ban be upheld then this could mean a change in philosophy for the powers that be at Chelsea as Roman Abramovich may well be forced to look to his academy – and the 41 players currently out on loan – to freshen up his first-team squad.
Christian Pulisic will be joining the club in the summer, so all this may seem redundant to Hudson-Odoi, who is desperately searching for first-team football, but the ban is unlikely to hinder his chances of progression.
Chelsea were unwilling to part from the teenager in January, and they will be even keener to retain his services with the current ban in place. The only way of doing this is, however, is expected to be an offer of guaranteed first-team football.