Matthew Bondswell: Who is the RB Leipzig defender Chelsea are chasing?
RB Leipzig defender Matthew Bondswell could be on his way to Chelsea during January.
It is a notoriously difficult time to find value for players, yet that generalisation refers to clubs desperate to strengthen their first XI. For those seeking the benefits of youth, as Chelsea are, there could be a little more leeway.
The Bondswell is on loan at Dordrecht from the Bundesliga side could be a complicating factor, as that deal does not expire until June, but it should not be seen as a deal-breaking factor.
Who is Matthew Bondswell?
Bondswell is one of a growing number of young English players who have sought to make their fortune in the Bundesliga.
He made the leap to Germany from the Nottingham Forest youth system, where he had spent eight years. Although he has thus far failed to make the breakthrough in Leipzig, he has caught the eye in the Netherlands.
With Dordrecht, who play in the second tier of Dutch football, he has accumulated seven first-team appearances. He has, however, been missing due to injury in October.
He has had plenty of opportunity to show off his defensive characteristics as Dordrecht are struggling towards the foot of the table. Through their first 14 matches, they have conceded an eye watering 38 goals and have scored just 11 of their own.
Matthew Bondswell snapshot:
|CLUB||RB Leipzig (on loan at Dordrecht)|
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Bondswell, though, has featured in the only two matches in which they have kept cleansheets.
At international level, meanwhile, he has been capped by England at several age groups up to Under-18.
His strengths are typically defensive. He is strong at pressing the ball and tackles well, although he is a more than competent dribble and capable on the counterattack. Indeed, it should not be surprising he is a physical monster given he was an accomplished triple jumper in school.
No doubt, though, he needs to improve his end product in the final third. At just 18, time is on his side.
What is the left-back situation at Chelsea?
Bondswell would not arrive at Stamford Bridge with the expectation of challenging for a regular place in the first XI. That belongs to Ben Chilwell. Signed from Leicester in the summer, that position appears to be his for several years to come.
Beyond that, though, there is greater uncertainty. Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri have both been linked with moves away from the club. Even if one were to depart in January, that could open the door for Bondswell to take a place further down the rotation in Frank Lampard’s squad.
Are any other clubs interested?
West Ham are also reportedly be interested in Bondswell.
Chelsea, though, could hold an advantage over David Moyes’ men for two reasons.
Firstly, the Blues have recent history of doing business with Leipzig. In the summer, they signed Timo Werner from the Champions League hopefuls.
Secondly, they have a track record of using young British players in their first team, although that was in part due to a transfer ban that stopped them making signings in the summer of 2019.
This pathway to the first team could be key to enticing the teenager to sign.