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Chelsea would be wise to retain this England U20 star despite interest from French club

The Premier League club remain hopeful that the defender will sign a new contract

Why Chelsea should retain Tariq Lamptey’s services 

Chelsea face a fight to keep academy graduate Tariq Lamptey with French club Nice interested in signing the England Under-20 international, according to the Telegraph.

At age 19, he has made his first-team and Premier League debut (the seventh such player under Frank Lampard), and on the basis of those topping off his soon-to-be concluded youth career, he is now up for a contract renewal with Chelsea amid interest from Ligue 1’s Nice.

Lamptey is a right-back who seems capable of also playing as a right-winger or at right wing-back. This puts him in the unenviable position of being behind Reece James in the club’s long-term depth chart.

Lamptey cannot expect many first-team minutes over the next few seasons while the Blues still have Cesar Azpilicueta, nor can he expect a place as a starter with James at the club.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea celebrates victory during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Azpilicueta of Chelsea (Image credit: Getty)

Tariq is probably the shortest player to come through the ranks at Cobham in a long time, making even Jay Dasilva look tall by comparison. However, he’s also just as talented, gifted with the ability to make things happen at will with his electric pace, quick feet and guile.

Against Arsenal, Lamptey came on as a substitute and within seven minutes the 19-year-old had shown them a glimpse of just what he is all about and in many ways, his introduction, a performance full of zest, helped to turn the tide in a remarkable late comeback win. The teenager had been thrust into the matchday squad because of Reece James’s ankle injury and concerns over Cesar Azpilicueta’s hamstring.

 Tariq Lamptey made his debut as Chelsea beat Arsenal at the Emirates
Tariq Lamptey made his debut when Chelsea beat Arsenal at the Emirates

Lamptey made his second Chelsea appearance in the FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest.

Verdict

Tariq Lamptey’s career is progressing nicely. Chelsea have made a lot of changes to their youth development pipeline over the last year, from whittling the loan army to actually connecting the pipeline to the first team. Lamptey is the perfect candidate to enter the reformed loan system to ensure a fruitful senior career at Chelsea or elsewhere. The Blues should do for him what they have done for several others – tie him down to a long-term contract and then send him on loan to a top-five league.

A year or two in the Bundesliga or La Liga plus will put Lamptey in prime position to challenge for a spot when Cesar Azpilicueta nears the end of his tenure. 

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