Andreas Christensen 20 Defender Borussia Mönchengladbach (on loan from Chelsea) Denmark
When we started watching Andreas Christensen this year, our main focus was on finding the reason that had been severe enough for Chelsea to assume he wouldn’t be ready for their first team within two years. In short, it doesn’t exist; and we’re not convinced it ever did.
The Danish defender is excellent on the ball and possesses anticipation that is hard to teach. When forced into making a tackle it is rare that commits a foul and even rarer that he is shown a card. At a stretch we’d probably agree with anyone that tried to tell us that the big, strong youngster could be better in the air. Though we suspect he probably coasted during age group football by simply being bigger than everyone else, and it’s nothing that six months working with Diego Costa in training wouldn’t have helped.
2016 has been…
The last 12 months have gone in a similar fashion to how 2015 ended; very well. Andreas has been one of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s most consistent performers over the last two seasons and looks like the sort of defender who has been playing at the very top level all of his life.
Gladbach finished 2015/16 with Champions League qualification sorted out and Christensen has benefitted from playing in Europe’s premier competition. A year of balancing domestic and continental pursuits will stand him in good stead for a career of doing the same. The Danish centre-back is going to be a mainstay for regular Champions League clubs as well as his country for the next 10 to 15 years.
John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill are all over the age of 30. Couple that with the fact that recent returnee David Luiz (29) isn’t much younger and we begin to speculate that Christensen and Kurt Zouma could be foundations upon which Antonio Conte builds his side for the next three or four seasons.
Barring an absurd offer from elsewhere, we expect Andreas will kick off the 2017/18 campaign in south London with Chelsea. Given the current options listed above, we have to assume Conte will at least give him a pre-season to impress him.
After that, it will be on whether Christensen can take his chance and play his way into the team. We’re probably being a little harsh but a tough few weeks to start the season – similar to the troubles that he experienced at Gladbach – could mark his card.
The whole side were struggling and once the new manager was appointed, the turnaround was near instantaneous but with the stakes at Chelsea that much higher and the atmosphere much more cutthroat, he needs to make at least a solid, unspectacular start to his proper time in a blue shirt.
C+ A really classy defender
All images used have been kindly provided by the National Audubon Society in The United States under a Creative Commons License. The Society’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. You can donate to their work, here.