Patience The Key For Chelsea With Carney Chukwuemeka

Photo Credit: AP

One part of Chelsea’s 2022 summer spending spree was the capture of Carney Chukwuemeka from fellow Premier League side Aston Villa. The 18-year-old was a purchase for the future. It’s now down to a game of patience for both sides.

Chelsea will not want to rush the youngster through to the senior squad. Instead, they will let him ripen and hone his natural talents in the youth ranks or even out on loan. For Carney Chukwuemeka himself, he will have to patiently wait for those moments to come. When they do, he will have to grab them with both hands.

Carney Chukwuemeka Moves From Aston Villa

The transfer of Carney Chukwuemeka to Chelsea from Aston Villa in the summer of 2022 was certainly no big headline-making football news. It wasn’t even the biggest Villa news of the summer.

Given the type of money that Chelsea shelled out ahead of the 2022/23 Premier League season, their signing of Chukwuemeka was a drop in the ocean.

The Blues paid around £18 million for the player. It was a nice enough return for Aston Villa though. Chukwuemeka was a player that they had brought up through their youth ranks. At the time of the transfer, he was rated around £6 million.

The Carney Chukwuemeka contract at Chelsea was a six-year deal. That’s a pretty significant offer for the youngster. Especially as he had barely reached double figures in Premier League appearances for his former club.

Chukwuemeka Makes Aston Villa Debut

Carney Chukwuemeka made his Aston Villa debut late into the 2020/21 season. Villa produced a 2-1 match success over Tottenham on the day. Chukwuemeka nearly got himself on the scoreboard as well.

Having made an appearance from the substitutes bench, Chukwuemeka struck the woodwork with an effort. While it was only a very small cameo in Aston Villa’s season by Chukwuemeka, it was something of a reward.

It was a gesture of recognition by the Villains about the ability of Chukwuemeka, the 2020/21 Aston Villa Academy Player of the Season. His first full start as a senior player with the Midlands club happened early in the 2021/22 Premier League season. It came in a battling 1-1 draw with Brentford.

How Much Will Chelsea Trust Chukwuemeka?

For Chelsea to go out and buy a young player at a reasonable bargain price, hints that the club have a lot of trust in him. The Blues have the spending power to go and spend millions on building a new midfield of established internationals if they so wished.

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Chelsea’s Carney Chukwuemeka warms up before the Champions League group E soccer match between Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Carney Chukwuemeka is an attacking midfielder. So far with the Blues has been resigned to action with their U21 side. When will the chance come for the youngster to start making strides in the senior squad?

The recent arrival at the club of new manager Graham Potter could be huge for the development of Carney Chukwuemeka. It means that the player is going to work towards being part of a fluent, positive system of play that should naturally fit his style.

Potter has already stated that his goal is to get Chelsea playing entertaining, attacking football. He wants the supporters to have faith in their team, while at the same time, being fully entertained.

It also means that Chukwuemeka may not be thrown into the deep end anytime soon. Potter has a good record of nurturing players and bringing the best out of them.

At the end of the day, there is no real rush for 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka to be forced into the Chelsea starting XI. Patience is the key.

Brighton Buzz

In September 2022 there was a growing buzz surrounding Carney Chukwuemeka. As with most sports news, it doesn’t take too much to make a headline out of a single event. Chelsea had played a friendly against Graham Potter’s former club Brighton that month.

It was a match played behind closed doors. Therefore, only a select few people would have seen the performance of Chukwuemeka. But it was, apparently, a big one. Chukwuemeka netted both goals in a 2-1 win for the Blues, grabbing a chance to shine in front of his new boss.

One good performance is not the sort of basis to project a player into full-time action. Especially when it is a young player. But the performance against Brighton by Chukwuemeka certainly did his future credentials no harm at all.

Will Chelsea Turn To Youth?

When Todd Boehly became the new owner of the London club in 2022, it was during a difficult time. The Blues had a lot of problems behind the scenes. On the pitch too, the end of their 2022 season had been disappointing.

Former boss Thomas Tuchel was looking more and more like a forlorn figure. Early performances in the new 2022/23 season weren’t full of promise either. With an apparent lack of agreement over the direction of the Chelsea squad, Tuchel was sacked in early September.

The move came on the back of a 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb. Rumours were, though, that the decision had been already made by the new Chelsea owner, despite the result of that one match.

Boehly is a man who isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is. The American wants success for Chelsea and part of that puts pressure on the team to earn immediate results. To that end, big-money senior players were drafted over the summer.

Raheem Sterling arrived from Man City as a marquee signing. Kalidou Koulibay arrived from Serie A side Napoli, while a late deal on transfer deadline day saw striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrive from La Liga side Barcelona.

Hope For Carney Chukwuemeka

But there is also another side of the coin at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea do have quality youth in their set-up. England internationals Mason Mount and Reece James are permanent fixtures in the Blues’ starting XI.

The Blues have kept a hold of youngster Conor Gallagher as well this season. Gallagher, who was highly impressive during his loan spell with Crystal Palace last term, popped up with a winner against the Eagles in Chelsea’s Premier League fixture against them in October.

Summer signings Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella are players for the future. The retention of Armando Broja also hints that there are opportunities ahead for Chukwuemeka. It may initially come in League Cup appearances, or as the long season winds on and injuries start stacking up at Stamford Bridge.

Who is Carney Chukwuemeka?

Carney Chukwuemeka was born in Austria to Nigerian parents. A move during his youth to Northampton in England, saw the start of his career as he spent time with the Northampton Town academy before going onto Aston Villa.

Chukwuemeka has represented England at the youth level. The most notable moment there came at the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. Carney Chukwuemeka was the joint second-highest scorer in the tournament.

He was part of the England team that won the final of the UEFA European Under-19 Championships, getting on the scoresheet in their 3-1 victory over Israel. It was another impressive feather in the cap of the impressive youngster. He was named in the Team of the Tournament as well.

Chukwuemeka’s Gamble To Leave Villa?

It appeared that Carney Chukwuemeka didn’t want a future at Aston Villa. New Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard couldn’t convince the youngster to stay. Reportedly there were offers given by Villa to the young midfielder to keep him on the books.

But the story goes, Carney Chukwuemeka rejected them. With only six months remaining on his contract, Aston Villa’s hand was forced somewhat by the player. They took the deal from Chelsea, amidst some interest from other top European clubs, and moved on.

It was a gamble by Carney Chukwuemeka, perhaps. There could have been more regular first-team action for him at Aston Villa had he stayed around and extended his contract with them. But the move to London was booked and now he will be under pressure to take his chances.

January 2023 Issue For Carney Chukwuemeka

When the next transfer window opens, it is going to be very interesting to see what Chelsea do. In Todd Boehly they have a man of vision, a winner who is likely to come up with solutions to any issues that the club are having.

Will they be planning for a spring assault in the UEFA Champions League? Will they have slipped to the UEFA Europa League? The FA Cup is coming into the picture and of course, trying to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Given that Manchester City are the champions-elect in for the Premier League title once again, for now, the Blues need to find a way to close that immense gap to the Citizens.

That means that a bigger investment in the January transfer market could be the direction that Chelsea take. That in turn could push players like Carney Chukwuemeka and even Conor Gallagher, further down the pecking order.

Potter The Backbone Of A Long Term Project

In Graham Potter, Chelsea have secured the services of one of the leading English managers in the business. His work with Brighton, where he developed and nurtured young talent alongside working the loan market for experienced operators, was highly praised.

Is Potter the long-term solution that Chelsea can bank on? There’s no guarantee that a further spending spree will come. Graham Potter’s arrival itself could be seen as a long-term project. The Blues have had a cut-throat reputation when it comes to managers. They want silverware.

The ‘new manager bounce’, an upswing in fortunes when a new boss arrives, has worked well for them. But the Roman Abramovich time has gone. It’s Todd Boehly’s time now and Potter’s appointment was surely a nod to the future.

Will the long-term project be given the time it needs to allow talented young players like Carney Chukwuemeka to come through the ranks and solidify first-team action?