Chelsea can repeat Armando Broja trick to relieve £114m Thomas Tuchel burden amid striker puzzle – Jake Stokes

Chelsea starlet Jude Soonsup-Bell will be looking to continue his rich vein of form ahead of the development squad’s clash with Manchester United in the Premier League 2. The 18-year-old striker has found the net twice in each of his previous two appearances for Andy Myers’ side, with goals against Nottingham Forrest and Liverpool.

The prospective academy graduate, who made his senior debut against Brentford in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, is regarded as one of the west London club’s brightest talents. While Chelsea’s development squad have suffered a subdued campaign, with an FA Youth Cup exit on Monday and relegation on the cards, Soonsup-Bell has come to the fore to rejuvenate the Blues’ season.

Myers’ side sits second-bottom in the league with two games in hand over Everton, who lead Chelsea by just four points. The west Londoners won the Premier League 2 title in 2020 before falling 14 points short of a successive honour the following season as Manchester City wheeled away victors.

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Soonsup-Bell has often trained with the first team, handing Thomas Tuchel the opportunity to build a rapport. The Chelsea boss showered the striker with praise following his maiden start for the club against the Bees.

“They did well,” said Tuchel when asked about the performance of Soonsup-Bell, Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale versus Brentford. “They hadn’t trained for a week, and then we invited them to train, and they had two sessions with us.

“They listened carefully and did their job. Full credit to the seven guys with who they played. They took care and made sure they did the right stuff.”

With the England youth international firmly on Tuchel’s radar, Chelsea’s clash with United poses a great opportunity for Soonsup-Bell to stake a claim for a growing role in the first team for years to come. The Blues will be hoping that the teenage talisman can emulate Armando Broja’s meteoric rise to superstardom.

The Chelsea loanee has enjoyed a fruitful season under Ralph Hasenhuttl at St Mary’s, scoring six goals in 17 Premier League starts. Broja’s glowing displays for Southampton have attracted the attention of Arsenal, understands, creating a dilemma in the summer.

Despite the growing interest, the west Londoners mustn’t cash in. The Albania international has proved that he’s ready to wrestle Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner for a place in Tuchel’s starting eleven.

So, should Soonsup-Bell continue to elevate his game, the youngster must use Broja’s development as a template of his own. The Albanian was quickly thrown into the deep end, having been sent out on loan to Vitesse in the Eredivisie, which proved incredibly successful.

A similar pathway via Chelsea’s infamous loan system could be the making of Soonsup-Bell. In doing so, Tuchel could then relieve the Blues of Lukaku’s and Werner’s burden.

The duo have a combined market value of £114m, yet have only scored a combined 19 goals in 65 games this season. In times of financial uncertainty, prospective owners mustn’t be afraid to make good use of Cobham.

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