Last week, Chelsea confirmed the signing of midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu from Stade Rennais for £23.2m (€27m).

Upon his arrival, the Blues co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: “We're delighted Lesley is joining Chelsea. He is an impressive young player who has already made his mark in Ligue 1.

"He has a huge amount of potential and we know he is going to continue to develop and improve."

However, it has been revealed by the Evening Standard that Chelsea are considering loaning Ugochukwu to Strasbourg, where his development under the tutelage of Patrick Vieira is a frightening prospect.

Who is Lesley Ugochukwu?

The 19-year-old has been in the Rennes youth system since 2012 and made his senior debut just after his 17th birthday, becoming the club’s fourth-youngest debutant at the time.

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Since then, he has amassed 60 appearances for the first team and is preparing to forge the next step of his glittering at Stamford Bridge.

How good is Lesley Ugochukwu?

The Frenchman had always stated that it has been his “dream” to play in English football and now with a pathway to the Chelsea team, via a possible loan with Strasbourg under his hero Vieira, he has a clear aim to ruthlessly work towards.


A Premier League scout from a top-six club described the youngster as someone whose potential "is very high”, whilst his “athletic presence” has led to comparisons with the Arsenal legend.

Standing at 6 foot 3, Ugochukwu occupies a domineering and physical presence, which has ramped up his similarity to Vieira.

This has been recognised by the prodigy himself, who added:

“It’s an advantage being tall and powerful. People like Vieira inspire me a lot because of what he did for Arsenal. It’s something that I want to do during my career, to live like that and for people to say, ‘Lesley was that kind of player’.”

The teenager bestows this monumental reputation with supreme defensive solidity on the pitch. Over the past 365 days, when compared against his positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues, Ugochukwu ranks within the top 27% for tackles and interceptions per 90, as well as the best 12% for blocks per 90.

Moreover, across 26 Ligue 1 outings this term, the recent Chelsea recruit managed 88% pass accuracy, completed 70% of his dribbles, won 70% of his aerial duels, and didn’t make any errors leading to a shot or goal.

The engine has only started 18 league games and remains very much in the infancy of his career. Having another year to develop in his homeland is an intelligent move and as the 2021 Champions League winners look to reap the rewards of their multi-club project.

With the added bonus of being managed by the retired 107-cap international, Ugochukwu can potentially flourish into a tremendously accomplished and tenacious midfield pivot, mirroring the unassailable excellence of Vieira’s glittering career.

The 6 foot 4 mountain is one of the Premier League's most imposing and influential pivots, who anchored the record-breaking invincible season in 2004. With endless experience and a fountain of expertise that he can supply to Ugochukwu, it really is the perfect scenario for all parties.

Next year, Ugochukwu could give Mauricio Pochettino a serious selection headache if he continues on this stunning trajectory.