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Callum Hudson-Odoi U-turn: Why fighting off Bayern Munich massive for Chelsea

COMMENT: Crass. Crude. Even indecent. If we're going to hold Bayern Munich to the standards they demand of others, then there's no other way to describe their pursuit of Callum Hudson-Odoi this year...

For this perennial finger wagger. That demands action against the spending of rivals. Bemoans the nouveau riche. And complains about the indecency of it all. For the way they pursued Hudson-Odoi's signature through the German and English press. It's clear indication their consistent calls for Financial Fair Play penalties and complaints about transfer spending has nothing to do with the good of the game, but only self interest.

Make no mistake. This is a victory for Chelsea. Not only for the new manager, Frank Lampard. But also those above him. Those whom held steadfast as Bayern made multiple offers through January's winter window convinced they would be forced to sell.

"He is a very interesting player who we really want to sign," Bayern's sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, as clear as you can get, stated just after the New Year.

"He has the qualities that fit our game. He is a strong dribbler and has a strong movement towards the goal. He has great potential."

Direct. Flattering. Headline making quotes for both the German and English press. All designed to rattle Chelsea and motivate Hudson-Odoi.

Take away the hypocrisy. The flagrant double standards. And Bayern's tactics are understandable. Capped at 18, English football knows they have something special on their hands. Super scout Piet de Visser, of Romario and Ronaldo fame, rates Hudson-Odoi the best of his generation. And when those January offers were flying in, Bayern great Giovane Elber was urging his old club not to hold back, "...in the current transfer market you cannot buy the players you want for €5m. If Bayern does not act then Real Madrid and Barcelona may do so."

Indeed at the time, Bayern's conviction was strengthened by the player. Amid the offers. €25m. €35m. €50m. Hudson-Odoi demanded a transfer. He wantedChelsea to sell him to Bayern.

But management refused to cave. And six months on, that stand has been rewarded. Coupled with Lampard's arrival and the goodwill generated by his return. Chelsea have managed to convince Hudson-Odoi to sit down at the negotiating table and thrash out new terms.

News of an agreement around a £100,000-a-week deal has emerged just days after claims in Munich that Bayern were ready with a new offer. Even in April, after Hudson-Odoi broke down with that Achilles injury, Uli Hoeness, Bayern's forthright president, was offering the young Blue an assurance, "I think that we will continue to think about him". In other words, Chelsea, we're not giving up.

But today. Almost three months on. Word is arriving that that's just what Bayern are doing. The mooted bid has now been scrapped. The public overtures to Hudson-Odoi now silent. Replaced by Leroy Sane and taunts for Manchester City.

Chelsea have seen them off. The money. The gob. Chelsea have shaken it off to secure the commitment of a talent so determined to quit for Germany six months ago that he made a transfer request.

Those in Bayern's corner will scoff. Particularly regarding that new contract Hudson-Odoi is about to pen. £100,000-a-week? At 18 years of age? It's crazy money. Arguably dangerous money for a player of Hudson-Odoi's age.

However, arguing in the affirmative is Lampard, who insists: "That conversation has changed. Too big, too young has gone. What becomes even more important is the attitude of the player, what's around them, how you coach and how you push and drive. That will be part of my job."

And to be fair, Chelsea have previous. A role-model. An example for Hudson-Odoi to follow.

When Chelsea made Ruben Loftus-Cheek a millionaire at 16, many wrote the kid off - including this column. The desire. The motivation. It would be blunted. His life was set up before he was even of age. What would he be fighting for? So we argued...

But Loftus-Cheek has proved us wrong. The talent. The potential. It's being fulfilled. The only thing keeping him down is that bloody back injury. But in terms of attitude and work ethic, Loftus-Cheek cannot be questioned.

Which is the same we hear from those close to Hudson-Odoi. Moving to Bayern wasn't about money. But opportunity. And a defined career path that he could see in front of him.

At Chelsea such a plan appeared blurred. That is, until Lampard's arrival. Better yet, until Jody Morris' return and Joe Edwards' promotion. Knowing his old academy coaches are now in the manager's ear has offered a reassurance to Hudson-Odoi. As has the decision to hand the coveted No9 shirt to Tammy Abraham. Lampard isn't paying lip service to the club's academy talent. He's putting them front and centre. Actions, rather than words, that have gone a long way to convincing Hudson-Odoi to do an about-face.

Hudson-Odoi's new deal will be a big win for Chelsea. And they've done it the right way. No matter what reaction those at Bayern decide to take.


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TransfersOpinion
Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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