Give me ‘Baba’, insists The Special One in football, Jose Mourinho. It is imminent the Portuguese wants the Ghana International and Chelsea need him as well.
After several weeks of speculations that Augsburg left-back Baba Rahman will join the English giant, the hour has finally arrived with every indication showing that the Ghanaian wonder kid is set to sign for Chelsea.
Widespread reports suggest that the Augsburg star has already agreed a five-year deal with Chelsea.
Mr Mourinho lied to all of us that the Blues would not be signing any more players this summer, but several media houses – including Sports5050, Sky Sports and Daily Mail – have claimed that a deal is already in place for the Ghana international.
Enough said, Baba Rahman will join Chelsea this week or next.
But who actually is Baba Rahman? Can he undo César Azpilicueta?
Here is the lowdown …
The 21-year old started is senior career in Ghana playing for Kumasi Asante Kotoko from 2011 to 2012, when he moved to Germany to play for Greuther Furth.
He signed for Augsburg last August for €2.5m after two seasons with Gruether Furth.
His staggering development as a left-back has seen him linked with possible moves to Manchester City, Real Madrid, Arsenal and now Chelsea.
At Augsburg he played 31 Bundesliga matches last season and no doubt he was an important factor in Augsburg’s success as they finished fifth last season – their best ever result for a Bundesliga season.
Baba is good at defensive tackling, but he is particularly strong when attacking down the left wing. His crosses create a lot of danger, and he is fast.
He however has a weakness – His passing is sometimes imprecise. But he’s still only 21, so could easily improve it.
The price tag on him is astonishing given that he was worth just €2.5m last August.
Any player in the Bundesliga would never dream of paying even €20m for him.
At Augsburg the pressure is way, way less than he’d face at Chelsea. There would be a huge learning curve for him adjusting to that situation.
At Chelsea he has to fight for the left-back position and undo one Cesar Azpilicueta to establish himself in the first eleven.
Can he actually do that?
Three things Baba will have to prove to Mourinho if he wants to establish himself in the first eleven.
First, there is nothing like beautiful in Mourinho’s dictionary and we saw that when Mourinho dropped Ashley Cole for Azpilicueta. Not because the latter was any better or a top class but because he played ‘rock’ football that produced results. He barely dribbles but defends very well and that is what matters because that’s his role on the field.
Baba should not focus on beautiful football but rather rugged one to scare away opposition strikers.
Mourinho doesn’t care whether you can dribble or not – most important is to defend well by any means.
Secondly, consistency is also key for Baba to become a regular starter. Azpilicueta broke into Chelsea’s starting eleven because he hardly got injured and was consistent whenever given the chance.
Rahman if able to avoid injuries and is consistent when given the chance to play, then gradually he can undo Cesar Azpilicueta.
At 21, four years younger than Azpilicueta, he has a future with Chelsea and consistency is the key.
Finally, he’s got what it takes to challenge Cesar Azpilicueta. He is an all-action full-back, comfortable and confident in possession.
Powerful, athletic and quick, he is far from a player who will sit back and allow opponents to assert themselves on the game.
He is a ball-winner, and his pace and strength mean he is rarely beaten. In last season’s Bundesliga, Baba made more tackles (108) than any other player, winning 90 of those, meaning an incredible tackle success rate of 83 per cent that suggests he barely ever comes away without the ball.
Great positioning and a reading of the game that comes naturally gives him a great advantage in terms of getting into place to make tackles and also saw him make 83 interceptions last season – a tally only seven players in the whole Bundesliga could top.
He is a bargain for Chelsea…
Welcome Baba to the English Premier League.