Back in 2011 Giorgi Chanturia was dubbed – perhaps lazily or perhaps prophetically – ‘the Georgian Messi’.
The winger who was also pretty handy as a centre-forward began his playing career at FC Saburtalo, before being loaned to Barcelona in 2009.
Playing for the Catalan side’s youth B squad, Chanturia’s 11 goals helped his loan club to the league title. And from there he was soon being linked with a move to Chelsea.
So it was somewhat interesting that rather than move to Stamford Bridge, he headed to Vitesse Arnhem, the Dutch side that has an excellent working relationship with the Blues and that has been the beneficiary of a whole number of loan deals down the years.
Could this Georgian wunderkind head to Holland, hone his talents and one day be sold to Chelsea? Three years ago it certainly seemed a possibility.
But much like his mooted permanent move to Barcelona, a switch to Chelsea failed to materialise, and now Chanturia – after transfers to CFR Cluj and Hellas Verona – is back in Romania for a loan stint with the club also tipped to be bringing Davide Petrucci in from Manchester United.
Chanturia only moved to Italy this summer, but Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims the 21-year-old wants to get back to his best before attempting to stake a claim for a first-team spot with Verona.
Di Marzio claims the challenge for the player once heavily linked with Chelsea is to become a contender, a protagonist in a story he was once tipped to be the hero of.