Mourinho has made it clear that he’s willing to give younger players a chance to impress during his second spell at Chelsea, which is great news for returning loanee Kenneth Omeruo.
Omeruo has just spent a long, hard season playing in the Eredivisie with ADO Den Haag where he started 26 league games, showing remarkable consistency as a defensive player.
Mourinho showed last season with Raphael Varane at Real Madrid that if he thinks a player can do a job for his back four, he will throw them into the mix and there are several reasons Omeruo should get a chance.
The first relates to John Terry’s age. Mourinho is not naïve enough to let Terry join Monaco this summer but he will also be aware that his older age means he can’t play in every single game any more.
Omeruo’s inclusion would also allow David Luiz to remain in his holding role in the midfield, a position he played so well towards the latter stage of last season.
That would be a risk because the idea behind releasing David Luiz to play in midfield is so he can take one eye off his duties as a centre back.
Considering Omeruo is only 19-years-old, there is always that risk that David Luiz may feel as though he’s got one eye on central defence and one eye on his role as a holding midfielder.
That would therefore solve a headache for Mourinho in the respect that he doesn’t need to go out and buy a holding player to replace the likes of John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien at the club.
Omeruo’s experience having played a long season in a top European league also proves that he can adapt to a variety of different situation and will already be used to top flight pressure.
Add to that the fact he’s already a regular international player with the Nigerian national team, getting the better of Blues legend Didier Drogba in the recent African Nations Cup, and it all points towards something very positive as far as the Blues are concerned.
Not only could he play alongside Branislav Ivanovic or Gary Cahill in central defence when needed, he can also cover for Cesar Azpilicueta at right back.
Right back is not one of Chelsea’s strongest positions and initially that could be his way into the team, before he’s switched to a more favoured central defensive role.
Azpilicueta was one of Chelsea’s best players last season because he found himself in a position which he wouldn’t have expected.
Chelsea also lack a great deal of work rate and pace when Azpilicueta isn’t available because as good as Ivanovic is covering at right back, he’s never going to be that player who sprints up and down the wing, being effective at both ends of the pitch.
Is Omeruo worth a risk? Can he mimic Varane’s success?
image: © Jason Bagley