Antonio Rudiger admits he could have stayed at Chelsea
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Tammy Abraham’s time at Chelsea came to an abrupt ending when he was sold to Roma, but it is a decision that Thomas Tuchel appears to be living to regret. The striker was criticised for his lack of goals in the Premier League previously, including by Gary Neville, but is now silencing his doubters.
Abraham had proven himself in the English top-flight and showed good potential, yet his opportunities at Stamford Bridge became bleak. Abraham was the Blues’ top scorer in the 2019/20 campaign under Frank Lampard with 15 goals.
He then fell out of favour under Tuchel and was somewhat frozen out of the team before Roma came to his rescue last summer. Many were quick to criticise Abraham last season when he went through a dry patch, with Gary Neville even speculating that he could be a Roberto Firmino-like forward who creates rather than scores goals.
But the former Manchester United defender has been proven wrong by Abraham already. The striker has scored 15 goals in 34 Serie A appearances this season, in an underperforming Roma side that are sitting in sixth spot in the league.
Back in 2020, Neville said: “He’s got to get 12-15 goals. He’s not going to 25 goals, but the pressure will come on him when people say ‘Chelsea need a goalscorer’. I know they’ve got Werner who will score from wide areas, but when the centre-forward isn’t scoring 15 goals, 20 goals a season, he’ll come under pressure.
“I mean he could be the Firmino. You see Firmino at Liverpool who does sometimes get questioned a little bit for not getting enough goals. But I don’t think from anyone who knows football questions him and what he brings then the other two get more plaudits and score goals. But he does a lot of work for the team that obviously supports that.
“I just think at Chelsea he will get put under pressure – a young striker, English centre-forward. He just needs to keep scoring goals just to keep people away from him and make sure those clouds don’t build.”
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Abraham was sold to raise funds to sign Lukaku from Inter Milan for just under £100million, but the Belgian has – arguably – had less of an impact than Abraham would have had. The former United forward has only scored eight league goals this season and has received plenty of criticism for his performances.
Of course, Jose Mourinho appears to have relit the fire in the belly of Abraham, but if Tuchel had put more faith in the former Aston Villa loanee then who knows how he would have performed going forward. The German boss has complained about the struggle of closing the gap between Chelsea and title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City recently, but waving goodbye to bright sparks won’t aid his sympathies.
It has been revealed that the Blues do have a buyback clause in Abraham’s contract that becomes active in 2023, and if the club are banking on bringing the academy product back then they must wait for another campaign to do so, and whether the gulf in class widens in the meantime remains to be seen.
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