Thomas Tuchel has promoted Chelsea youngster Xavier Mbuyamba to first-team training during the international break and the teenager has expressed his gratitude for the recognition his hard work has received.
The young defender, who stands at 6ft 5′, was snapped up by Frank Lampard in the summer of 2020 from Barcelona following his release in Catalonia.
Mbuyamba had joined the Spanish giants from Dutch side MVV Maastricht but a number of Europe’s biggest clubs had been queuing up to sign him.
Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Real Madrid had also been interested at the time after Mbuyamba became Maastricht’s youngest-ever senior player at the age of 16.
He would go on to make 11 senior appearances before being invited on trial with the Blues but the club’s transfer ban prevented any deal from happening.
Chelsea did return though and now Mbuyamba is finally making strides in west London after initially struggling with a knee problem.
Earlier this week, the defender was invited to train with the Chelsea first-team for the first time since he arrived at the club.
Mbuyamba has now expressed his happiness on social media after receiving the nod and he makes it clear this is just the start for him at Chelsea.
“A moment I’ve been working towards since joining this incredible club,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Truly blessed to be training with the first team this week.
“Lots to learn, and my motivation is on another level right now!”
Speaking last year before Mbuyamba chose Chelsea, his agent Carlos Barros revealed the Blues had made an impressive sell to his client.
Barros said: “Chelsea have the best papers. Of course we discussed this extensively last year.
“Chelsea gave a fantastic presentation. There is a unique football atmosphere there.
“You immediately sit with the first-team players during lunch and the club has outlined a very ambitious plan for Xavier.”
Chelsea academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah can help provide some inspiration for Mbuyamba, having forced his way into Tuchel’s thinking this summer during pre-season.
Chalobah spent last season on loan in France with Lorient and was handed the chance to start the Super Cup triumph over Villarreal in Belfast.
He duly impressed before keeping his place in the side for the opening day of the Premier League season against Crystal Palace.
Again, Chalobah did not let the opportunity pass him by, scoring a stunning low strike while helping the Blues secure three points with a clean sheet.
Now Mbuyamba will be looking to follow in Chalobah’s footsteps, as he bids to impress Tuchel on the training pitch at Cobham before Chelsea’s senior stars return next week…