Christian Pulisic’s arrival at Chelsea next summer is not a threat to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s chances of a first-team breakthrough if he stays at Stamford Bridge, said assistant coach Gianfranco Zola.
Chelsea confirmed on Wednesday that they had agreed a €64 million deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign Pulisic, who will spend the rest of the season in the Bundesliga before joining his new club.
The move has raised further questions about Chelsea’s desire to develop Hudson-Odoi, who has made just six appearances in all competitions this season and is holding off signing a contract extension amid serious interest from German giants Bayern Munich.
Zola is adamant that Hudson-Odoi has a bright future at Chelsea, and does not see any reason why the presence of another talented young winger in Pulisic will affect that.
“Pulisic coming here … he is a player that has done very well and we’re very happy to welcome him and the club is investing for the future,” Zola said. “We have players that have a certain age and we are thinking about the future. This shouldn’t be a problem to Callum.
“You can see recently that we played with three small players up front, so we played with Eden [Hazard] up front and actually the team did very well with the system, so it’s leaving another space on the wide areas. Pulisic is coming because the club is moving for the future but we believe that he [Hudson-Odoi] is in our future as well.”
Zola urged Hudson-Odoi to show patience in his development at Chelsea in a news conference on Friday, and the Italian warned that the winger will not find first-team minutes any easier to come by at Bayern if he leaves.
“He has to think long-term,” Zola said of Hudson-Odoi. “I know it’s very difficult when you are young. You think about what is going to happen tomorrow, but you have to be thinking after.
“We have two players, they are very good players but both of them are over 30 — Pedro and Willian. We value them, of course, we value them a lot but we know there will be a moment in which probably Callum is going to come and Callum is going to overtake them so it’s important that you think about this.
“You stay here, you have already started a process in which you have to probably wait a little bit but I wouldn’t say even too long. Or the alternative is to go somewhere [else]. You go somewhere and it’s going to be the same.
“You will have to start again. Do you think that you go to a big team and you are going to go straight into the team? It doesn’t work that way. So that’s all I think. And when I say this I am genuinely talking about the best for the player, not the best only for the club.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate