Chelsea are close to securing the signing of forward Antoine Semenyo from Bristol City, with local sources stating they expect an announcement to be made later on Monday. Chelsea had reportedly offered £1 million for the 19-year old, but City were holding out for £2 million, and have recalled Semenyo from his loan with Newport County today.
So who is the potential new Chelsea player?
Born in London, Semenyo is still very new to senior football having only made his professional debut for Bristol City in May last year. Since then he has gone on to make 32 appearances for Newport County in League Two, scoring 6 goals and 2 assists.
Before that, he was on loan with Semi Professional side Bath City in the National League South. He made 16 appearances there scoring 6 goals, before returning to Bristol City.
I spoke to Bath City’s Match Day commentator and Reporter Mark Stillman to find out a bit more about the young forward…
Stillman: “He made his debut in a 2-0 victory over Concord Rangers, but took a while to find his feet, being restricted to substitute appearances, before he proved his worth in a Somerset Premier Cup Quarter Final with Western League minnows Welton Rovers. Semenyo claimed a hat-trick in an 8-1 success, proving to be half his total in the Black and White stripes, where he accumulated sixteen appearances.”
Watch Semenyo’s hat-trick here..
“His finest hour, almost literally, was against Gloucester City last April, when having replaced the stricken Sean Rigg on 28 minutes, he terrorised the Tigers, netting twice and claiming the man-of-the-match award in a 5-1 win, which impressed Bath Manager Jerry Gill.”
Gill said: “I liked the stuff he did without the ball as well. He was chasing, harrying, bumping people. I’ve just felt that in recent weeks Antoine has looked really dangerous for us.”
“We’ve been trying to get him involved. Sometimes we haven’t been able to, but he’s really taken his chance with a really powerful display, which was epitomised by his second goal where he’s bumped a defender followed by a ferocious, vicious shot which the keeper didn’t even smell.”
In an interview with Mark Stillman last February, Antoine evaluated: “I believe I’m a very pacey and physical character so the balls over the top could catch out a few teams.”
Stillman summed it up: “These strengths see him useful as a centre forward, who is able to make an impact when drifting out wide with his work rate a real nuisance for defenders.”
“Such attributes were shown in Newport’s recent win over Leicester City in the FA Cup, which earned him plaudits, and the Exiles are clearly disappointed to be losing him halfway through a season long loan.”
Chelsea will be signing Semenyo for the Under-23 Development Squad, in a similar move to when they signed Ethan Ampadu from Exeter City.
He’s a player who hasn’t only caught the eye of Chelsea, he’s been heavily scouted by the majority of the top Premier League sides, and Manchester United also enquired about his services. But it is Chelsea’s great relationship with City that look to have given them the edge in the race to sign the prodigy.
Highly rated amongst the scouting network in England, Semenyo looks to be getting his big move, and will surely be looking at the progress of Ampadu at Chelsea – who is now a member of Maurizio Sarri’s first team squad.
Semenyo is a fast player, who is physically built and a real nuisance for defenders. When he drives with the ball, he is similar to Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the sense that players seem to bounce off him. He’s a very hard working player with stamina for days.
An example of his strength…
But he isn’t just all about pace and skill, he can hold his own technically as well, and can get involved in build up play. He will drift wide, get in behind, and drop deep to collect the ball.
Having the ability to play across any of the positions in the front three, he offers that versatility as well as the quality. He’s a skilful player, and not only does he have a powerful finish, he’s also very composed and calm in the box, and can offer different types of finishing abilities.
Here’s a direct finish here..
There is no doubt that Chelsea will be gaining a sought after raw talent with infinite potential, and at the age of 19, and with the added extra of training with the Chelsea coaches, it will unlock even more of his qualities.