Contributor post by Charlie Blake
Chelsea are heavily criticised for the handling of their youth system by fans and journalist alike, treating academy products as a pathway to profit instead of the first team. Many young players have come and gone for either not being good enough, or because a transfer offer which represents a profit has been put on the table.
That is why Callum Hudson-Odoi and his representatives deserve great credit for turning the situation on its head. Now, the player is the person with all the power and Marina Granovskaia will not like it.
Hudson-Odoi knows how much of a valuable asset he is. A European super power in Bayern Munich have made four offers for him this month. However, the monetary value of the offer only tells half the story. The player knows how valuable he is to the club in which he is currently under contract.
Besides having the greatest potential of a youth product in the 18 years that I have held a season ticket at the club, Hudson-Odoi also qualifies for home grown status (both trained at the club and nationality). Cesc Fabregas has already departed, whilst the inevitable departures of Gary Cahill, Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater highlight the importance of Chelsea keeping hold of their best English talent.
Forcing the clubs hand to reportedly make the teenager one of the best paid in England is a mark of genius. The higher the wages of Callum Hudson-Odoi, the greater the pressure there is on Maurizio Sarri to play him more regularly. Not only will this money better reflect his value in the transfer market, it will create an obligation to play him more regularly.
The player is still weighing up the offers he has received from both Bayern Munich and Chelsea, but this power-play has catapulted him into a position of authority. The kid has the talent of a first team player at the age of 18, and now he has forced the club to offer him the money that reflects his status in the squad. I am sure there will be clauses in the contract too if he is not given the game time promised.
For the upcoming youth products in the Chelsea academy, please take note. If you are good enough, this is how you do things. A remarkable dilemma which will no doubt have two successful outcomes. Whatever Hudson-Odoi chooses to do next, we do know one thing, this is a player who is smart and knows exactly how good he can be.