Why Chelsea should eye Alejandro Balde as one for the future
According to claims from Spanish outlet Sport (h/t Football.London), Chelsea are keeping close tabs on Barcelona academy prospect Alejandro Balde. The young left-back is yet to make his first-team breakthrough at the Camp Nou but has recently been promoted to the senior ranks by manager Ronald Koeman.
The Catalan giants have Jordi Alba as their undisputed first-choice left-back, with Junior Firpo as the designated understudy. However, with Firpo linked with a move away from Barcelona, Balde is expected to break into Koeman’s plans moving forward. (Sport h/t Daily Mail)
Balde has been a part of the famous La Masia academy ever since his childhood days. He caught the eye with his rapid progress before being promoted to the club’s U-16 side in 2018. A year later, the left-back made his mark at the U-19 level. Balde is now on the verge of rubbing shoulders with the senior pros.
Meanwhile, Chelsea grabbed the headlines on numerous occasions with their spending spree this past summer. Blues owner Roman Abramovich sent out a strong statement of intent to underline the club’s title-winning ambitions under Frank Lampard as Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva all came through the door at Stamford Bridge.
Besides spending heavily to rebuild Lampard’s senior side, the Blues have continued to put in a lot of effort behind the scenes to strengthen at the youth and reserve level. The likes of Bryan Fiabema, Xavier Mbuyamba, Edwin Andersson and Jimi Taurianen have all been snapped up as a part of the club’s youth recruitment drive in recent times.
To put things into perspective, Alejandro Balde might not be the finished article just yet but his status as a highly-rated prospect in Barcelona’s academy should prompt Chelsea to take a punt on him with one eye on the future. The Blues currently have enough competition for places at left-back but bringing in Balde would still make a lot of sense in footballing terms.
Chilwell has quickly established himself as an undisputed starter at left-back. However, with Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso both out of favour and linked with moves away from West London, the Blues definitely need to start planning for the future. A potential deal for Balde would, therefore, hand a significant boost to their long-term plans.
Chelsea, of course, have Ian Maatsen as a highly-rated young talent coming through the ranks. The Dutch starlet is currently enjoying his first taste of senior professional football on loan at Charlton Athletic in League One. His position in the pecking order at Chelsea will surely be reassessed next summer but it’s always good to have more than one quality youngster vying for a first-team role.
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Suffice to say, Chelsea could have a gem on their hands if they manage to beat off competition in the race to sign Alejandro Balde from Barcelona. The 17-year-old will need some time to acclimatise to his new surroundings at the English capital if a move does materialise in the near future.
Nevertheless, the teenager’s enormous potential means that the Blues have every reason to believe he could possibly make the grade in the Premier League in the years to come.