In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, a quartet of talented Chelsea youngsters have impressed former England midfielder John Barnes while Neymar’s former agent reveals how the Brazilian could have become a Blue.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Four Blues in Barnes’ Under-23 list
Former England midfielder John Barnes has picked Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham in his list of the best players under the age of 23 currently playing in the top flight, TalkSport reports.
When asked to select his ‘Under-23 Premier League XI’, Barnes chose the four Blues along with three players from his former club Liverpool and one each from Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City and Everton.
Said Barnes of Tomori, who was named in central defence alongside Liverpool’s Joe Gomez: ‘He is quick and strong on the ball, but also is a very good defender.’
Of Mount, who was picked in central midfield alongside Phil Foden of Man City and Youri Tielemens, Barnes added: ‘Mount has worked so hard to come back to Chelsea and start as many games as he has done this season. It shows what a great talent he is, he has a big future for sure.’
Injury may have hampered Callum Hudson-Odoi’s impact this season but Barnes felt the 19-year-old deserved a spot on the right-wing.
‘Before his injury, he showed what great footballing ability he has,’ he said of the teenager. ‘He is quick and strong on the ball and I hope he can come back stronger than before and keep working hard.’
His final selection saw Tammy Abraham given the nod at striker.
‘A good centre forward and someone who has done a lot better than I and many people expected. Seeing all the goals he scored in the Championship, and to then come into the Premier League as Chelsea’s number one striker, shows what a talent he is and how hard he is working.’
Blues tried to sign Neymar as a teenager
According to the Sun, Neymar’s former agent has revealed Chelsea made a serious attempt to sign the Brazilian from Santos a decade ago when he was 18 years old.
Speaking to AS, Wagner Ribeiro said Chelsea, fresh off winning the Double under Carlo Ancelotti, put in an offer for the talented teenager on the day he made his international debut for Brazil on 10 August 2010.
‘There were many calls for him,’ said Ribeiro. ‘I received an official offer from Chelsea the day Neymar debuted with the Brazilian team in 2010.
‘They made an offer, we studied it, but in the end we didn’t decide anything. On that occasion, we transferred it to Neymar’s father and the player himself.’
Ribeiro added there were several other offers from big clubs including Bayern Munich and Juventus for the young star before he eventually joined Barcelona in 2013.
Macho laments missed Chelsea opportunity
Jurgen Macho admits he was ‘heart-broken’ at missing out on the chance to impress when he was at Chelsea but the former Austrian goalkeeper spoke positively about the way he was treated by the club while recovering from his injury, Goal.com reports.
Having arrived from Sunderland in the summer of 2003, Macho looked set to challenge Carlo Cudicini for the No1 position but never got the chance after he suffered a bad knee injury in pre-season.
‘Chelsea came in and it was an honour that such a big club came in to sign me,’ said Macho. ‘Everything went so fast because I knew I had to try to take this big opportunity.
‘I knew I had to do something big to make it at Chelsea. I had a pre-season before the actual pre-season which started in my holidays. I thought I have to work hard to be 100 per cent right to get a shot to play. I knew the fight for places against Carlo Cudicini was big.
‘At the start, I was really happy there. I had so much power and energy. After a week, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament and it was heart-breaking. It was an awful feeling. I had invested so much and I couldn’t show what I could do. I knew after that it would be very tough to get back in.’
Macho was sidelined for a year and released in 2004 after the club signed Petr Cech.
‘It was a hard time for me. It was a great disappointment but that’s part of football,’ added the 42-year-old, who is now a goalkeeping coach at Rapid Vienna.
‘I never would complain about this because injuries are part of the game. You can be lucky to avoid them but it happens. Everyone at Chelsea treated me with so much respect even if they were ready to let me go.
‘That includes all the players, coaches and medical staff. I felt like part of the club even if I never played there. I feel like I earned to be signed by Chelsea and I was proud to be part of it.’