Ethan Ampadu is one of those players whose age surprises you because it almost feels as if he has been around forever. At nineteen, he’s only a year older than Billy Gilmour and is at least a year younger than the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and even Reece James. In the past two seasons, he was very much a bit-part player making occasional appearances in the Europa League, FA Cup and league cup games. In the limited minutes he was given, there were a multitude of things that I’m sure would have impressed Chelsea fans not just for now, but for the future.
Ability to Play Multiple Positions
Firstly was his ability to play multiple positions. Due to the contrast in styles from the Conte era to the Sarri era, one would think that a youngster like Ampadu, who hadn’t really established himself, would find minutes hard to come by. Yet this was not the case, as Ampadu was able to flourish as both a center back and as the deep-lying playmaker, or “regista”, in Sarri’s system.
Mature Despite His Age
Secondly, there was a certain maturity and assuredness that was immediately made visible to anyone who watched him play. He may not be the flashiest player, but he has the looks of an extremely effective player that can instill confidence into a team, whether deployed in defense or in the middle of the park.
The Youth Revolution Continues
Lastly, this season has opened the eyes of a few Chelsea fans (myself included) on the importance of integrating youth. As mouthwatering as the transfer window seems to be, my stance on it remains that we should only delve into the window for positions that we are in dire need of and for players that will come in and be undisputed upgrades to what we already have. A transfer strategy like this would surely benefit players like Ampadu, given that he was on loan for the one year that the club decided to give youth a chance given the circumstances.
Will Ampadu Be In Lampard’s Plans Next Season?
His loan at Leipzig hasn’t gone to plan for all parties involved, but his recent performance against Tottenham reminded the Chelsea fanbase as a whole of how talented he is. Lampard himself admitted to wanting to sign Ampadu on loan while he was at Derby, so he has already made it known that he is extremely keen on him. With the recent performances of Billy Gilmour and experienced players like Jorginho, Kovacic and Kante, central midfield could be sorted for the next couple of years if Ampadu can fixate himself as a key member of the first-team squad next season. And with the likelihood of one of either Kante or Jorginho leaving next season, that could very well be the opportunity that he would need to kickstart his Chelsea career.
To the annoyance of many Chelsea fans, news linking the club to Declan Rice has been an ever-present for the past couple of transfer windows. Rice is indeed a talented player, but compared side to side with a player like Ampadu, there really isn’t that much of a difference considering the fact that Rice is two years his senior. It could be argued that Rice possesses more Premier League experience, but that experience alone would definitely not be worth the seventy million pounds or more that it would take to lure him away from relegation candidates West Ham. Also, Ampadu becoming a first-team figure gives Lampard flexibility with his team selections given his ability to play multiple positions and it also saves the club a fortune that could be used to fund other positions that the team is in critical need of. If Lampard was able to make the likes of Mount, Abraham, Tomori and James look like integral pieces of Chelsea’s future, I’m more than confident that he can do the same for a player like Ampadu.
Edited by: Dan