Chelsea’s new winter signing: Benoit Badiashile

Chelsea's new winter signing: Benoit Badiashile

With the January transfer window still open, Chelsea hasn’t wasted any time. Promising 18-year-old striker David Datro Fofana has already completed a transfer to Stamford Bridge, talented 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos is currently in London awaiting the completion of his move, and now 21-year-old AS Monaco center-back Benoit Badiashile has agreed to terms with the Blues. For top sports betting casinos make sure you check out CasinoDaddy! 

So, who is Badiashile, and what should Chelsea supporters anticipate from their newest hire? The France international’s game is broken down in depth by Tor-Kristian Karlsen, who also depicts his path in football from Monte Carlo to west London.

Badiashile, a fellow alumnus of the thriving Monaco academy, began playing professionally in the principality in January 2018 after enrolling in the club’s youth program at the age of 15. The French national team system, of which he has been a regular member since representing the under-16s, immediately noticed the son of a nurse and an architect who has familial links to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 18bet is just one of the great casinos we have reviewed for January 2023. 

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Then-coach Thierry Henry gave him his Ligue 1 debut at the age of 17 in a 4-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in November 2018. A few weeks later, at a press conference before a Champions League game, Henry famously voiced his displeasure with the player for not tucking in his chair and obstructing his access to his seat. Nevertheless, since making his Monaco debut, Badiashile has consistently played as a left-sided center-back, with sporadic appearances as a left-back. The defender has seldom appeared out of place, intimidated, or uneasy despite being thrust into first-team football at such a young age, and he is regularly astounded by his maturity, intellect, and composed demeanor.

Badiashile was called up to the France senior team after four years of slow progress and more than 100 Ligue 1 appearance. His full debut came in September’s 2-0 victory over Austria in the Nations League. Given France’s abundance of top-notch center-backs, being picked to the team for Qatar was still a noteworthy accomplishment even though he didn’t play any minutes at the World Cup. In November, Badiashile played in his most recent game for the U21s, a team for which he has been a vital part for the previous three years. In addition, he was chosen ahead of a wide range of top-tier competitors during the 2021 European Under-21 Championship.

Badiashile has played as a center-back for Monaco except for a few brief appearances as a left-back, where he has excelled on the left side of the central defensive combination. The 21-year-old hasn’t faced many challenges playing on the left in a back three, which is theoretically the position he’s supposed to play at Chelsea, because all three of his head coaches at club level — Henry, Niko Kovac, and the incumbent, Philippe Clement — have preferred a back four. Nothing in his skill set, though, says he shouldn’t be successful in that role as well. It could fit him much better.

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The Frenchman, who is 6-foot-4 tall, should probably be more valuable in the air than on the ground. Although he consistently prevails in 75% of his aerial battles, his calm, graceful, and controlled aura is likely to be noticed first when evaluating the adaptable, technically proficient defender.

He hasn’t frequently displayed signs of tension, agitation, or letting himself be hurried into losing his cool since making his first-team debut. His good touch allows him to feel at ease moving forward with the ball when in control, giving him more time to consider his choices. The big center-back is used to seeing and feeling a lot of the ball because he was the main ball-playing defender in a team that valued possession. He seems to be the perfect fit for Chelsea, who require a natural left-footed center-back to hasten the initial ball out of defense.

While being tall and skilled on the court might sometimes result in a rather languid body, Badiashile does not fit this description. He has quick reflexes, good anticipation, is aggressive, and is willing to go outside the box when dealing with one-on-one scenarios. His pace over short and medium distances is exceptional, and he is an excellent athlete. Although he used to be prone to excessive fouling, he looks less hasty now.

The Frenchman is a very full-bodied, technically proficient, and tactically sound center-back. He is not particularly error-prone, but as with Kalidou Koulibaly, some adjustment time to the Premier League should be allowed for him as with any other newly arrived central defender. He is generally alert and largely free of the major concentration lapses that even top-class center-backs may occasionally suffer.

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However, certain subtle adjustments could be worth looking at to achieve slight yet obvious improvements to his game. These adjustments should come with time and experience. In defensive duels in the penalty area, he could be even more combative; nevertheless, he could also show an excessive fear of giving up penalties by withdrawing when the last-ditch tackle was about to be made. When attempting to block a shot, he might also tend to pivot too rapidly rather than face the ball and use his entire body to obstruct the endeavor.

Badiashile should have no trouble fitting into whatever Graham Potter has in mind for him because he is a well-educated defender from one of the best academies in Europe. He is quite comfortable playing in a back four, as was already said, but the left-sided position in a back three — where he is given plenty of time on the ball and responsibility to build from the back — may well suit him even more.

Author: Bobby Parker