With Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid, who will step up and fill his boots?
Eden Hazard- a Chelsea legend who has carried the attacking force in recent years has left the club, and that has left Chelsea fans worried as he has been the main outlet for goals and assists.
The Belgian was the main reason why Chelsea got the top four finish, and won the Europa League.
The 28-year-old was involved in 49% of all Chelsea goals last season. Take that 49% away and Chelsea would have probably struggled to get into the top ten of the Premier League.
So can anyone step up and fill his boots, or is it an impossible task?
One person who could fill his boots is…
- Callum Hudson-Odoi
The young English winger really made his breakthrough last year under Maurizio Sarri at the tail end of the season.
Hudson-Odoi, 18, showed so much promise last season. He brought so much excitement and a different type of attacking flair to the Chelsea side.
In 23 appearances last season, Hudson-Odoi scored four goals and gained one assist.
But his record in the Chelsea youth is impressive and very promising for a 18 year old.
Of course he isn’t the finished product yet, but at his young age, he has so much potential, and he will fulfil his potential if he is able to develop in the right way, under the right manager (hopefully Frank Lampard).
What is the key to that development?
Hudson-Odoi has always wanted more first team opportunities. He almost had to force his way into Maurizio Sarri’s thinking after handing in a transfer request in the last January transfer window.
But with Sarri gone, and with Lampard coming in- expect to see more development in Hudson-Odoi’s game next season.
Hopefully with him improving with more game time- we will se more goals and assists from the 18-year-old.
What may stop Hudson-Odoi from filling Hazard’s boots next season?
His injury is the biggest issue at this current moment. Callum is only just recovering from his ruptured Achilles injury which he suffered in the Premier League game at home to Burnley.
He is set to miss the start of the season, so he will come in late and that may affect his initial impact when he starts his season.
The second issue is that he has too much developing to do to live up to Hazard’s standards. He still needs to improve some aspects in relation to his end product and his movement off the ball, but that will come with time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi may not be able to be as impactful as Hazard was for Chelsea last season, but he could still have a really good impact on the team next season if his injury doesn’t disrupt his season.
The second player that could fill Hazard’s boots is…
2. Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic, 20, signed for Chelsea in the last January transfer window for around £58 million, making him the most expensive American player.
Pulisic is a similar age to Hudson-Odoi, so these two players are developmental players.
However the only difference between Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic is that the American is a bit ahead in development compared to Hudson-Odoi, but that could all change next season.
With Pulisic, you have got a hungry player who wants to make an impact and be one of the best American players in the Premier League.
At this moment, Pulisic is on great form for America during the Gold Cup.
His stats for Dortmund are decent. They aren’t the best but they are good enough for me. In 152 appearances for Dortmund at all levels, Pulisic has scored 33 goals, and has assisted 39 goals.
The 20-year-old didn’t have the greatest season last season, due to injury problems, but still had an impact but not as big as previous seasons for Dortmund.
Here are a few stats from the 2017/18, and the start of the 2018/19 season that showed how influential Pulisic was to Dortmund’s team and the American national team.
What may stop Christian Pulisic from filling Hazard’s boots next season?
His injury issues which hampered his season last season. If they continue into next season then that could have a negative impact on what he could offer the Blues next season.
The only other minor issue alongside development still being needed that could stop him from filling Hazard’s boots is the fact that this is his first season in the Premier League, so needs time to adapt (at least one season).
And for such a young player that is vital- that the fan base don’t heap too much expectation onto their shoulders too quickly. So we may have to be patient with both Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi as they are both young players who still need a considerable amount of time to develop.
But in a few years, we could have two young superstar wingers who could do brilliant things for Chelsea.
No one can fill the boots of Eden Hazard. He was just too good and influential and I can’t see any Chelsea players being that influential in a long time.
Hopefully both Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic have good seasons next season. If that’s the case, alongside the striker scoring goals on a regular basis (Abraham, Giroud or Batshuayi- hopefully not Morata), then we should be able to make do for next season.
Then once our transfer ban is over, we need to add quality to our attack and defence.
Comment down below- who is more likely to be the better player next season- Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic? And will one of those players be able to have the big impact that Hazard had on the team last season?
By Danyal Khan