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Callum Hudson-Odoi & Bayern Munich: Why quitting Chelsea would be career mistake

COMMENT: A move to Bayern Munich? In January 2019? Well, for Callum Hudson-Odoi, that would be a career mistake.

Fresh from a first Cup semifinal. A first Wembley appearance. For all that at just 18 years of age. Hudson-Odoi still appears to be leaning towards jumping ship and quitting Chelsea for Bayern.

Even the most cynical inside his camp must acknowledge, Chelsea - to a man - are doing all they can to convince the kid to stay. The manager is playing him. The coaching staff are praising him. His senior teammates - those who boast league winner's medals - are telling him to stick with them and stay. Even an 18 year-old Wayne Rooney, before skipping out on Everton, never was afforded such treatment.

Yet with Bayern now reaching the threshold set: £40m - a fourth offer inside ten days. The Germans have also shown Hudson-Odoi how much he is wanted in Bavaria.

And having seen the success of good friend Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund. Having been charmed by Hasan Salihamidzic, Bayern's sporting director. And excited by the career path Bayern have mapped out. The good money is on Hudson-Odoi quitting Chelsea and 're-launching' his first team career in Germany.

For this column, such a decision would be a mistake. Not a career killer. But definitely one to set the winger's progress back.

The word is Salihamidzic has convinced Hudson-Odoi with assurances he'll arrive to replace the departing Arjen Robben. He can even have the Dutchman's No10 shirt if wants it.

Dortmund did something similar when convincing Sancho about leaving Manchester City. The England starlet, at the time still yet to make his first team debut, handed the coveted No7 shirt vacated by Ousmane Dembele after his bitter split to Barcelona.

And having watched from afar as Sancho has lit up the Bundesliga this past year, you can understand the attraction. Growing up with Sancho. Regarding him as a friend and a peer. Of course Hudson-Odoi is going to want the same - and fancy himself to achieve just that.

But Bayern and BVB are two very different clubs. Two clubs with different demands of their players. And very different expectations. At Dortmund a title challenge is a bonus. At Bayern, it's a must. The simple argument to be made (and yeah, we'll throw it in here for the sake of it) is if James Rodriguez, of Real Madrid, the captain of Colombia... if he can't get a game at Bayern, then just what is going on between Hudson-Odoi's ears to believe he can?

But to be fair, Bayern are undergoing a phase of major transition. Robben will leave in the summer. As will Franck Ribery. And emerging to take their places are the rapidly improving Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. Youth. Pace. Excitement. Indeed, those in Hudson-Odoi's corner would cite former Arsenal winger Gnabry as a clear indicator that Bayern will back young players in the mode of both attackers.

But Gnabry's success has been a slow burn. As he even stated before Christmas, "I've always had to take two steps back for one step forward". Five years Hudson-Odoi's senior, the impact made by Gnabry this season has only come after serving a two season apprenticeship at Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim. And of course before that, there were his problems with Tony Pulis at West Brom...

Gnabry has been through the wringer and come out the other side. All that went before has prepared him for the demands of Bayern. For Hudson-Odoi, to leave everything he's established at Chelsea, to just start again from scratch makes little sense.

A foreign country. A foreign language. Where no time is granted a young player to make and learn from his mistakes. Hudson-Odoi would be taking a huge - and unnecessary - gamble.

He'll be leaving a career at Chelsea which is suddenly in motion. A locker room where he has the respect - even admiration - of senior players. Title winners. Leaders of nations. At 18 and at a club the size of Chelsea, Hudson-Odoi is the envy of his peers.

Is he really going throw all that away at the risk of becoming the next Renato Sanches...?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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