Observers of all things Chelsea would be surprised if the Blues allowed starlet Ethan Ampadu to join Sunderland on loan as he continues to knock on the door of Antonio Conte’s first team.
The 17-year old has again been the subject of suggestions in the media over the weekend that Chris Coleman is pushing hard to add the defender to his squad for the rest of the season.
The Welsh international is already on the fringes of the Chelsea first team and his profile was only enhanced by last week’s starting appearance in the FA Cup Third Round replay - a game beamed live on national TV.
Ampadu has been on the bench on no less than eight occasions in the Premier League this season and has played a part in each of Antonio Conte’s line-ups as the Blues have progressed to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
Indeed, whether Chelsea opt to allow the Exeter-born youngster the opportunity to gain experience with a Championship outfit may yet depend on the outcome of their upcoming cup fixtures. The second leg of the League Cup against Arsenal is to come on Wednesday night and Stamford Bridge is the venue for next weekend’s Fourth Round FA Cup clash with Newcastle.
But is the kid who made his senior Welsh debut under Chris Coleman as a 16-year-old really as good as his billing? We collared Chelsea fan, freelance sports journalist and editor of TransferNewsCentral, Simon Phillips to give us a little insight:
I recently said about Ampadu that he is good enough and comfortable enough as a complete player that I wouldn’t worry if he started every remaining game of Chelsea’s season.
He’s calm, mature and is a naturally gifted and intelligent player. Good in the air and versatile, can play most defensive and midfield positions.
His decision-making at times is questioned, but that will come with age. He’s just 17, but already plays like a top Premier League defender.
Ampadu can play in central defence or as a defensive midfielder. His dad Kwame was on the books of Arsenal - where he now coaches - before playing the bulk of his career at Swansea and Exeter City.
Folks who have watched the teenager talk of an intuitive player with superb vision, spatial awareness and potential to be a defender or defensive midfielder at the very highest level.
Sunderland would acquire a prospect still a little raw and with a steep learning curve ahead of him but Chris Coleman knows the lad well and his versatility in a Black Cats squad crying out for some quality could make a loan stint at the Stadium of Light a huge success.