Chelsea have an incredible 38 players out on loan this season, but the one creating the most headlines is English teenager Tammy Abraham. He turned 19 at the beginning of this month and has a huge future ahead of him, if he is managed correctly. This season, he is on loan at Bristol City in the Championship and he already looks to be one of the best strikers in the division. The Chelsea loanee is leading the scoring charts with eight goals from eleven matches, an incredible return considering that this is his first real taste of senior football. His form with Bristol City earned him a call-up to the England U21 squad and he scored twice during his first start for the side against Bosnia.
Although Chelsea are known for raiding youth academies across the UK, Abraham has been at the club since the U8 age group and has steadily built himself a reputation for being the best talent coming through the ranks at Stamford Bridge. It was his performances for the U18 squad in various competitions that brought him to the world’s attention. In the 2016 UEFA Youth League, he finished as the tournament’s second top scorer with eight goals. This was before scoring the winning goal in the side’s victory over Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup.
His incredible scoring record for the youth sides resulted in Abraham training with the senior squad towards the end of last season and he impressed interim manager Guus Hiddink. The Dutchman gave Abraham his Chelsea debut against Liverpool in May and the striker went on to feature against Leicester City on the final day of the season. The excitement around the young striker reached an all-time high and it was a coup for Bristol City to sign Abraham on loan this summer. The club’s manager Lee Johnson summed that up when he labelled his loan signing a ‘£20 million player’.
The form of Abraham in August was enough to convince the Championship club to sell last season’s top scorer Jonathan Kodjia to Aston Villa for an eye-watering fee of £15 million. The money involved certainly played a part, but they realised that they had a ready-made replacement in Abraham and made a decision that they may not have done previously in the summer. The 19-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength since Kodjia left and is relishing his responsibility as the team’s main goal threat.
Abraham is a complete forward, who is able to hold up the ball and pick a pass. However, his best attribute is his movement off the ball. He is more intelligent that other young forwards as he is capable of finding space in the penalty area and timing his runs perfectly behind the opposition defence, while he is an excellent finisher. His chance conversion is at 36.4% this season, which highlights how clinical he can be when provided with good service.
As well as causing problems with his pace, the Chelsea loanee is tall and has shown that he can compete physically in the Championship. He is averaging 1.4 aerial duels won per game which is impressive considering he has little experience in senior football. This is certainly an area of his game that he can improve over the course of his loan spell in Bristol, but he isn’t easily bullied either.
The future looks bright for Abraham and his career has been managed intelligently to date. Bristol City was a superb loan destination and he is going to continue to develop at Ashton Gate until May. It is the next step that will be interesting as his chances at Stamford Bridge will be limited, regardless of how he does for the rest of the season. The hype building around Abraham will offer a new challenge over the coming months. He will now be expected to perform consistently for Bristol City and he no longer has the element of surprise that he had at the beginning of the season. If he manages to maintain a healthy scoring rate and finish the season with 25+ goals, the next destination for him will surely be the Premier League, either with or without Chelsea.
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