Mikel Arteta has already shown Graham Potter the way to deal with new Chelsea signing


Chelsea have been told to follow Mikel Arteta’s example at Arsenal with William Saliba when it comes to soon-to-be new defender Benoit Badiashile. The Blues are very close to completing the signing of Badiashile from AS Monaco after the two clubs agreed on a €38million (£33.6million) fee for the French defender.

The 21-year-old successfully completed his medical in London on Monday and then Tuesday , understands. He is set to put pen-to-paper on a six-and-a-half year contract at Stamford Bridge. At just 21, Badiashile is perhaps seen as one for the future rather than slotting in and becoming a first-team starter straight away. Graham Potter has the likes of Thiago Silva , Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Trevoh Chalobah to choose from at centre-back when everybody is fully fit, so the competition for places is pretty fierce.

So, with no guarantee of a first-team place at Chelsea (if he does indeed arrive as expected), what should Potter do? France-based football correspondent for CBS Sports Golazo, Jonathan Johnson, believes the Blues should consider following Arsenal ‘s example with Saliba , something that might benefit Badiashile’s career in the long run. Saliba was signed by Arsenal on a permanent basis in the summer of 2019, joining the club on a long-term contract.

However, the France international was then loaned back out to his homeland for the next three seasons, before returning to the Gunners at the start of the current campaign and he has been immense since doing so – playing a starring role in the side’s bid for a first Premier League title since 2004.

“Personally, I think that he has the makings of a good Premier League defender,” Johnson explained in an exclusive interview with . “However, I do not think that he is as ready as William Saliba was then he returned to Arsenal. Chelsea might be wise to consider loaning Badiashile back to a Ligue 1 club for at least the remainder of the season before inserting him into the rotation.

“I see little to no value adding him to the squad where his pathway to minutes will almost certainly be blocked. The sort of consistency he needs to acquire to eliminate those mistakes will only come with regular game time.”

Johnson continued: “[Badiashile is] definitely one for the future. I would be surprised if he gets regular starts early on unless there are a number of injuries in central defence. In fact, if he was to start immediately, there is a risk that the pressure of expectation might be too high which could complicate his development at Stamford Bridge. I certainly think another half season and perhaps even next campaign in France would better aid his growth.”

At £33.6million, it doesn’t look like too much of an expensive purchase for a young defender rated so highly in France. It could be one of those situations where it takes a while to click, but once it does, the fee will look minuscule and Badiashile will seem like a bargain.

“It certainly has the potential to look like a shrewd buy in the future, but it is not a signing that I expect to immediately look like a bargain,”

Johnson said. “Badiashile still needs to work and the big question is whether or not Chelsea are currently set up to get the best out of players like that and to start adding value to young gems.”

There have been some comparisons to former Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. The German centre-back left the Blues on a free transfer last summer to join Real Madrid. But in his time at Stamford Bridge, Rudiger became a proper fans’ favourite and one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League. Badiashile undoubtedly shares some key attributes with Rudiger. He is very front footed and loves to run from defence into midfield while having the ball at his feet. His aggression off the ball makes his presence to attackers very well known. Despite this, it’s unfair to compare the two, who are at different stages of their respective careers.

“I think it is dangerous comparing such a young player to an established figure – especially one who is currently missed and was part of a successful team,” Johnson said. “There are similarities between Badiashile and Rudiger in their style of play, but the former is far less experienced than the latter. Badiashile’s finished profile could be quite different to Rudiger’s.”

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