Ben Chilwell, the Leicester City left-back, is just 19-years-old, but has already attracted major interest from other clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal, despite having not started a single Premier League game.
Liverpool, in fact, submitted a £7 million bid earlier in the summer, according to the Liverpool Echo, which Leicester rejected, as they are holding out for £10 million.
For someone so inexperienced, with only one year left on his contract at the time, this shows how much he is valued by his club. He is expected to become a big player for England in the future, having represented them at youth level.
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Now, the young full-back has signed a new five-year deal. Whether that would increase his £10m price-tag is not yet known, but neither Liverpool nor Arsenal were prepared to match that, and the player will now stay at Leicester, at least for the time being.
But why did Chilwell make such a big impression at such a young age, having played so little football at the top level before?
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Chilwell has previously spent time on loan at Huddersfield Town, working under Jurgen Klopp’s close friend David Wagner.
Earlier in the summer, the Huddersfield Examiner’s sports reporter, Alexandra Porter, spoke to the Liverpool Echo about the player, saying that he “made a great impression from the off” and was a “popular figure in the dressing room”. Wagner wanted to extend the loan deal, but Leicester wanted the player to return.
Chilwell is known for being a defender who can attack when necessary, but his main strength lies in the defensive third, something of a rarity in modern full-backs. For someone so young to make such an impression in the Championship, in only a two-month loan spell, speaks a lot for the talent he has.
Fitness and stamina are cited by Porter as things that Chilwell must improve upon, but that will come with age. His positioning also needs work, but again, he has time to improve that in the next couple of years. All other facets of his game are considered good, especially for his age.
For such a big fuss to be caused by a defender is something special. Usually it is only attacking players who receive such hype, but Chilwell has gone against the grain. He stands out despite not being a flair player, getting rave reviews from all corners.
Chilwell is an excellent talent and should get more chances to play for Leicester this season, with European football added into their fixture list meaning more squad rotation.
Whether he becomes the player that his coaches and club expect is a different matter, but he has all the attributes and the right attitude to make it work. He is certainly one to watch out for next season.
Who are YOU tipping to have a breakthrough season? Leave YOUR suggestions in the comment section below!