Chelsea’s interest in Borussia Dortmund star Earling Haaland has put Tammy Abraham’s future at Stamford Bridge in doubt. But former Blues winger Pat Nevin insists the academy graduate is more than good enough to lead Thomas Tuchel’s attack.
Abraham has struggled for minutes since the appointment of Tuchel at the end of January and has only scored one goal under the German coach, although an ankle injury sustained against Newcastle United has played its part in that.
The 23-year-old’s long-term future at Chelsea appears uncertain. A clause in his contract triggered last season, according to The Athletic, saw Abraham’s deal extended until 2024.
However, with the club intent on trying to lure Borussia Dortmund star Haaland to Stamford Bridge this summer, there is very much a question mark against Abraham’s name. Doubts as to whether he has the complete faith of those at Chelsea.
However, Nevin, who will be part of the Quest commentary team for the Papa John’s Trophy final on Sunday, believes Abraham has the technical quality and goalscoring instinct to thrive in Chelsea’s forward line for years to come. There is just one thing he needs: time.
“There are players at 23 years old who are absolutely the finished product,” Nevin, who made more than 200 appearances for Chelsea, tells football.london.
“They have the physique, they have that power. I honestly don’t think Tammy has completely filled out yet. I think there is more to come and there will be a point when suddenly it happens.
“His natural ability is fine, his natural goalscoring ability is fine. It’s all good enough for the top level. But if you’re going to be a lone striker in the Premier League, you need that little something special.
“Olivier Giroud is world-class at holding the ball up and laying it off and he’s the best in the world when it comes to attacking near the post. And Timo Werner is one of the quickest players you’ll ever see.
“So Tammy has to bring something that is physically world-class to the team because her technical quality is good enough.
“Look at someone like Didier Drogba, did he explode at 18 years old, 19 years old? No, he didn’t and that just shows that players mature at different speeds. Tammy will come back one summer and people will go, ‘Who is that guy?’ and that will make the difference. So I have no worries about Tammy being good enough for Chelsea.”
Abraham has been at Chelsea since the age of seven and as he rose through the ranks of the club’s academy, big-money strikers came and went. The demands and expectations were made clear.
A prolific scorer at youth level, he made the step up to senior football effortlessly. He struck 26 goals for Bristol City and managed the same total for Aston Villa two seasons later.
Abraham was given his chance at Chelsea by Frank Lampard last term and he delivered 18 goals in all competitions. A further 12 have been struck this season, making the England international the Blues’ top scorer once more.
“From what I saw from him at 16 years old, Tammy was always the one from the academy that I thought would make it,” Nevin explains. “And that is because he had the technical quality to his game.
“I think a good example for what can happen with Tammy is (Everton striker) Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Things have finally fallen into place for him over the past year. But before then, he was getting roughed up all over the place. But then then it was like a switch was flicked.
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
You won’t miss a single thing when it comes to Chelsea.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening. And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“Was that Carlo [Ancelotti]? Was it big Duncan [Ferguson]? Or was both of them coupled with the fact that he mentally and physically matured.
“For the role he plays, and that Tammy plays, you need that all in place. I genuinely feel that if Tammy left this summer, in five years time Chelsea fans will be asking why on earth the club let him go. I believe that strongly.”
Kevin Phillips/Pat Nevin will be a studio guest for Quest’s highlights of the Papa John’s Trophy Final on Sunday. Stream on discovery+