With Tammy Abraham finally looking to make it big in the Premier League this season with Swansea, what do his parent club Chelsea have in store for him? EADF resident writer and a passionate Chelsea fan, Rushabh Shah gives his take …
Have you heard about Chelsea’s loan system? Of course you have. Have you heard about a Chelsea youngster breaking into the first team? Of course you have…. NOT! I hear you say John Terry, but that was almost two decades ago and it is about time that a Chelsea youth player makes the breakthrough. Why now? Because the Chelsea youth team is without a doubt one of, if not the very best youth team across Europe. The youth team has won the Youth FA Cup consecutively in the last four years and also won the UEFA Youth League twice in the last two years.
It is clear that the Chelsea youngsters are too good to keep playing academy football so each year Chelsea loans out its youngsters across a whole host of leagues in an attempt to help to make the transition from youth football to first team football. Each year we hear new names pop up and we hope that finally someone will make the breakthrough. It was Josh McEachran in 2009, Nathanial Chalobah in 2011, Dominic Solanke in 2013 and Loftus Cheek in 2015. But the first three names have been sold and Loftus Cheek has made a hopeful loan move to Crystal Palace because he could not break into Antonio Conte’s team last season.
The Chelsea loan policy has come under heavy criticism and as a Chelsea fan it is extremely frustrating to watch talent flowing out of our team. Is there any youth player who is capable of taming the loan system beast? Yes, there is and his name is Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham. That is his name, but we know him as Tammy Abraham. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, he is built to be a striker, and a number 9 he is. Currently aged just 19, he joined Chelsea at the Under 8 level and has progressed through the club’s academy system. He is truly a Blue and to add a little more shine, he is also English. Remember the buzz when Rashford and Kane rose to prominence? I strongly believe Tammy Abraham has the talent to be better than both of them.
Tammy’s name hit the footballing world’s radar at the end of the 2015-16 season. He was the focal point, leading the line in the academy teams that won the Youth FA Cup and UEFA Youth League in 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, and he was an absolute goal machine over these two seasons. In the 2015-16 UEFA Youth League he ended up with eight goals in nine appearances, comfortably ending the tournament as the top scorer. If that is not impressive, then this fact will make you take notice. During the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Abraham scored 74 goals in 98 matches across all competitions. Now that is impressive and it certainly did impress Guus Hiddink in 2016. He invited Abraham to train with the first team for the second half of the 2015-16 season and even gave him his first team debut in a Premier League game against Liverpool.
The next question was whether he could do this on a higher level and to answer this question, Chelsea sent him on loan (of course they did!), to Championship club Bristol City, for the 2016-17 season. How did he do you ask? The answer is simple: Outstanding! He scored 23 goals in 41 appearances for the team and what makes it impressive is that Bristol City finish 17th last season, battling relegation all season long. So he was not being set up by the best players, instead he was grafting and working hard for his goals. Abraham’s tally of 23 goals was second only to Chris Wood of Leeds United. At the end of the year he broke the record for the most goals scored by a teenage in the Championship and won the following award: Bristol City’s Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Top Goal scorer awards. He is the only player in the club’s history to win all three awards in the same season.
Some players take a couple of loan seasons in the Championship to get used to first team football but Abraham took to it like duck to water. Chelsea have invested a lot of time and money in Tammy and every coach at the club knows his potential. Chelsea monitored all of his games and Antonio Conte also kept in touch with Tammy. With so much effort being put into his development, the club were not going to hinder his progress and for once, completed a loan deal that made me very happy. For the 2016-17 season, Abraham has been loaned to Premier League side, Swansea City in an attempt to test his ability in the Premier League. He made his debut for the club in a preseason friendly a few weeks ago, and guess what happened? He scored on his debut. He is a serial goal scorer and be prepared to hear his name more often his year as he develops under Paul Clement at Swansea. And with Fernando Llorente injured with a broken arm, Tammy may even get his chance earlier than expected.
What makes Tammy Abraham so good is that he is a complete number 9 and the entire skill set that a player needs to succeed. He can score goals with his left or right foot and can also use his height to score headed goals. He has a great turn of pace and also has great agility on the ball. His ball control and build up play have been improving and with time, he will only get better. But the quality that makes him special, is his ruthlessness. He has the knack to be in the right place at the right time, but also the ability to score goals at will. These are traits that make players like Suarez and Lewandowski world class.
I am absolutely buzzing and cannot wait to watch Tammy Abraham in the Premier League this season. He has the perfect opportunity to continue developing and growing as a player on the biggest stage in the English football. But as with any youth player, he needs time and does not need the English media breathing down his neck. Chelsea have invested far too much in this young player to let it go waste and the word in the Blues’ academy is that Tammy can finally be the one to make his mark on the first team. So keep an eye out for this young striker at Swansea and remember his name, because not only does he have the potential to be the next Chelsea star but also the next English star.