After the last piece focusing on Armando Broja, today we take a step back and focus on someone who could very well be the man feeding the chances through to the Albanian. Today’s focus is going to be on Austrian midfielder; Thierno Ballo.
Like a few of the players featuring in this series, you might’ve already heard of Thierno. Unfortunately it may have been for the wrong reasons, Ballo was likely one of the potential reasons Chelsea were handed their two window FIFA Transfer Ban. Chelsea effectively signed the player at the age of 14, where he was then left at Viktoria Köln until he was actually old enough to sign for the club. In this time, it’s believed he made numerous trips over to England, specifically Cobham, to ensure his development was going as planned.
But, enough of that, lets look a little more at this brilliant talent.
The first thing to note about Ballo is his versatility and this is something that is starting to become a theme in the series. Like Broja and Livramento, Ballo can play in multiple positions to an extremely good level. Whilst he ha splayed up front and been deployed on the wings, where he really seems to excel is at the top of midfield where his creativeness can be unleashed. Physically, he looks to be a good match for the Premier League thanks to his blistering pace and whilst he isn’t physically imposing like some of the players we see, he is still young and will only grow more.
Furthermore, his current build allows him to have an extremely low centre of gravity, and the resultant agility from this is abundantly clear when you watch him play, it means he can duck and weave through opposition’s midfield with the ball tight to his feet, before looking up and picking out that final incisive ball.
Something that cannot be underestimated in Thierno, and why I think he can find a spot in our team, is his creativity. When you watch Thierno play, you can see he has a real eye for a pass and certainly isn’t afraid to take a risk in order to find his man. Something that people have questioned at times this season in this Chelsea side is a real lack of creativity from the midfield, whilst Thierno certainly isn’t ready to play for the first team quite yet, I think he’s currently showing all the right characteristics for how Frank Lampard will want his creative players to work on the ball, but crucially offering something a little different.
The best way to describe Ballo would certainly be something of a flair player, but uniquely he also has outstanding end-product for his age and he certainly doesn’t fit into the same bracket of player as Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher. Once again, a loan move next season will be crucial in the development of Ballo and if he has a good one, his play style could make him an extremely valuable asset to the Chelsea squad.
What do you think of Thierno Ballo? Will he appear in Blue any time soon? Let us know in the comments below!
Chelsea Youth Profiles: