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Charly Musonda Jr: Monaco, Mourinho and an agents blow-up at Chelsea

If there's one member of the UEFA Youth League winners sure to make it at Chelsea its Charly Musonda. And we're not talking long-term.

It emerged in Belgium just last week that AS Monaco management thought so highly of the teen, they were willing to guarantee him a first team place if he was to move on-loan to France this season.

Christophe Henrotay, who took Musonda and his brothers Tika and Lamisha to Chelsea almost three years ago, had the deal in place. Concerned that Charly Jr's development was stalling, he sought loan options for the teen to launch his senior career. Former club Anderlecht came forward, but Musonda had no interest in a return. Monaco, however, was a different story.

ASM had identified Musonda as a January market priority. Despite never appearing for Chelsea's first team, Henrotay had negotiated guaranteed playing time. There was also a good contract for Musonda to work from.

All it needed was Jose Mourinho's approval.

After initially being open to the idea, the Blues manager rejected the proposal. The decision was abrupt and left Henrotay stunned. It's alleged the pair exchanged harsh words over Musonda's situation.

Fast-forward to a fortnight ago and Musonda penned a new deal with Chelsea to 2019. Overseeing the negotiations was not Henrotay, but Jorge Mendes. The same Jorge Mendes who takes care of Mourinho's affairs.

In the skirmish over Musonda's future, Henrotay lost the youngster to Portuguese super agent Mendes. It's claimed Mourinho thinks so highly of Musonda that he urged Mendes to take him on-board.

Anderlecht U21 coach Mo Ouahbi, who worked with Musonda in the club's junior ranks, is in no doubt about the midfielder's potential.

"In all the age groups I've coached, he is the best I've seen," says Ouahbi.

"If you think of Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) and Youri Tielemans, then Charly Musonda has more natural talent than these two."

Ouahbi continued, "I can recall one tournament we took him with us. If was for an U17 competition in France and our squad was made up of players a year younger - plus Charly Musonda. We battled, finishing seventh or eighth. But Charly came away a far better player for the experience.

"Even back then, you could see it. He has so much talent and creativity, he's the type of player that you must give more freedom to than others."

Charly Jr's departure from Anderlecht did leave a bitter taste. Dad, Charly Snr, a Zambian legend, had played ten years with the Belgian giants and there were hopes inside the club of a Musonda dynasty.

At 14 and still on Anderlecht's books, he had some declaring he was already for the first team.

"During my brief stint as Anderlecht youth coach, I had the chance to see him in action," said Mbo Mpenza at the time. "He has a great future.

"That boy is phenomenal. He is three times stronger than his father is saying! Give him 20 pounds and 20 inches of height and he can play in the first team without a problem."

Four years on and Musonda appears ready. Monaco certainly believe so. As does Anderlecht and Jorge Mendes.

Even by Mourinho's actions in January, the Blues boss also seems ready to hand the son of a Zambian icon his chance of making it at Chelsea.

As Musonda stated earlier this season, it's Chelsea where he wants to make it.

"Will I one day return to Anderlecht? I never spoke with Anderlecht, but Anderlecht is the club of my heart.

"Maybe I'll play later for Anderlecht, but for now I want to prove to myself that my place is with Chelsea "


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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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