Bayern eye Chelsea teen

Hudson-Odoi draws top bid of £35m but Blues are livid with tapping up of prospect

LONDON • While the neutral observer may be wondering what all the fuss is about over Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has yet to start in the Premier League, Bayern Munich believe he can be their equivalent of Jadon Sancho.

The Borussia Dortmund winger opted to leave Manchester City for Germany in August 2017 in search of more playing time, and the England international has not looked back since, becoming one of the hottest prospects in European football.

The six-time defending Bundesliga champions also clearly feel Hudson-Odoi has what it takes to follow in Sancho's footsteps, which is why the English winger has been the subject of four separate bids since last month - the latest being £35 million (S$60.2 million), catapulting the relatively unknown 18-year-old into the limelight.

But Chelsea have been incensed at the lengths Bayern are going to court their academy product, who has been handed successive starts in their last two games against Nottingham Forest and Tottenham for the first time in his career.

While the club are still hoping a run in the first team, which could continue today in the league against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, might persuade him to stay, it appears his head has been turned.

According to Sky Sports, Hudson-Odoi wants to leave the club and, with only 18 months left on his deal, he holds all the cards.

With his contract situation leaving Chelsea in a bind, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri directed his ire at the Bavarian giants at his press conference yesterday, claiming Bayern "did not respect our club" after sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said in midweek Hudson-Odoi was a player they "would definitely like to have".

GETTING BETTER

He is working very well at the moment, so I am happy with the player.

MAURIZIO SARRI, Chelsea manager, rates the 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is also wanted by German champions Bayern Munich.

He blasted: "It's not professional because they are talking about a player under contract with Chelsea. I am very, very happy with the player because he is improving a lot in the defensive phase.

"Now he needs to improve in some movements without the ball. He is working very well at the moment, so I am happy with the player and I would like to have him in the future."

The Italian revealed he had recommended to the club hierarchy that two players be signed in the January transfer window, but declined to give any names or state their positions. "I spoke with the club and the club know very well my opinion," he said.

He also shot down speculation over Willian's future, despite British media reports linking the "very important" Brazil forward with Barcelona, insisting "it's impossible to lose him in January".

However, Sarri hinted that misfiring £60 million club-record signing Alvaro Morata could leave on loan, but reiterated it would only happen if there was a like-for-like "replacement" for the striker, who has scored just five league goals in 16 games this term.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Bayern eye Chelsea teen'. Print Edition | Subscribe