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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is reportedly lining up a potential long-term move for Chelsea prodigy Charly Musonda. Musonda, 21, has informed Antonio Conte that he wants to quit Stamford Bridge in January due to a lack of first-team opportunities and hit out at the club last month on Instagram.
The Belgian has made just two starts for the Blues this season so far and is unwilling to wait for opportunities at Stamford Bridge. Musonda seems to have run out of patience and seems keen to jump ship, with the Gunners monitoring his progress closely.
With Wenger interested in plotting a raid on their London rivals, here we bring you the lowdown on the 21-year-old winger.
Born on 15 October 1996 in Brussels, Belgium, Musonda started his youth career at Anderlecht’s youth set up in 2002. In June 2012, Musonda joined Chelsea and on October 2013, he signed his professional contract with Chelsea, after already being a regular for the U-18s.
The Belgian international then became a regular with the U-21s and in March 2015, he signed a contract extension until 2019. In the 2014-15 season, Musonda won the FA Cup and the UEFA Youth Champions League with the club. Failing to break into the first team, Musonda joined La Liga side Real Betis on loan until the end of the season in January 2016. Having been impressed by his performances in the first 5 months, Betis extended Musonda’s loan for the 2016/17 campaign as well.
However, after making only one start in the 8 appearances under manager Gus Poyet, Musonda returned to Chelsea in December after the Blues decided to terminate his loan-spell at Betis. Against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup third round in September, Musonda made his Chelsea debut and he marked it with a sparkling performance and a goal before half-time. Apart from being a Chelsea player, Musonda is a Belgian youth international who has played from under-15 to under-21 levels.
Naturally a winger but also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, Musonda is known for his blistering pace and ball control. He might have a very slight figure, but he is still pretty hard to knock off the ball.
Musonda has a very mature reading of the game which often fuels his sharp decision-making on the field. His main assets are his dribbling and his ability to create opportunities in tight spaces. The agility and quickness he boasts are the keys to him slinking around challenges. He appears very adept at passing and crossing, while also having a desire to get his name on the score sheet.
What is impressive about Musonda is his high work ethic. If he lost the ball, he’d sprint 20 yards back and tackle. If an area was vacant, he would make sure to fill that space. Someone very mature for his young age, the winger is definitely set for bigger things.
Like any other player, he also has certain weaknesses. Musonda struggles when it comes to aerial duels and other challenges. However, being just a young kid, he has a long way to go and with time, he should overcome his weaknesses, just like other players.
Unlike Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte has been found willing to give opportunities to youth when the fixtures pile up, and the return of European football means they require a bigger squad than last year.
Musonda has been kept at Chelsea this season, and this indicates that Conte has a role for him. At just 21 years of age, Musonda has shown all the right signs of growing into a mainstay for Chelsea in the future.
However, the Belgian might not get enough playing time, with the likes of Hazard, Willian and Pedro in the starting 11. Also, there have been young players brimming with confidence, who have faded away after making their debut with Chelsea. While the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake were sold in the summer, Ola Aina and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were loaned to different clubs, with their futures apparently uncertain.
For now, Musonda, who has got a taste of the first-team, should stick with Chelsea and not consider a move in January. He should give Conte what is expected out of him and wait for his chance, rather than getting frustrated and rant on social media pages.
Musonda is undoubtedly a top talent and is going to go far in the game.