Can left back Abdul Rahman Baba cause change at Chelsea?
Chelsea, 5/1 shots from Coral to lift the FA Cup, have announced the signing of young Augsburg defender Abdul Rahman Baba for a reported fee of over £20m, which is a promising sign for the Stamford Bridge side’s future.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 17, 2015
Jose Mourinho is not exactly renowned for being a long-term planner, and the win now and at all costs mentality that the Blues (9/4 to win the Premier League) share with their manager makes them a good fit.
However, this has clearly led to an ageing spine in the west of London and, while the likes of Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry are far from on their last legs, it is clear the day is coming when they would need replacing.
Mourinho took steps towards this by trusting Kurt Zouma in key games last season, and recently attempting to take John Stones from Everton, but it is not easy for the Portuguese to takes risks with youth in his prized rearguard.
Chelsea’s move for Ghana international Baba, then, speaks volumes, as the 21-year-old has been drafted in to replace departed left back Filipe Luis and to compete with Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta.
The 21-year-old will not necessarily be resigned to understudy though, should he get off to a flying start, as usually tried and trusted Azpilicueta has had an underwhelming beginning to this season.
Known for his lung-busting forays charging down the flank for Bundesliga battlers Augsburg, where he hit five assists in 31 league outings as the Bavarians pushed for a surprise top four finish, narrowly missing out, Baba could be the most realistic Blues youngster to break into the starting XI.
Over course still relatively raw, the Black Stars defender has all the attributes to be the next Mourinho project and be moulded into a top-drawer player.
The Tamale-born talent has truly worked his way up through the ranks, having toiled in his home country for Ghana Division 2 team Dreamz before being loaned to the top tier with Asante Kotoko.
It was here Baba, apparently being tracked by Arsenal and Manchester City, started to make waves, eventually transferring to German club Greuther Furth where he impressed enough for Augsburg to swoop in.
Young Baba has also been capped 11 times for Ghana, who fielded him in the recent Africa Cup of Nations final, when he netted a penalty, so should not be so fazed by a switch to Stamford Bridge.
Expected to add power and exuberance to the capital club, compared to the more contemplative talents of Azpilicueta, watch the video below to see what else he can offer the Premier League champions.