Cristian Cuevas: Have Chelsea unearthed the next Alexis Sanchez?

Cristian Cuevas has scored two goals in two games at the 2015 South American Youth Championship.

The South American Youth Championships are currently underway, and Chile sit second place in their group after two games.

A loss to Brazil preceded a victory over Venezuela, and the one consistent from those two performances was the man who netted the goals for La Roja - Cristian Cuevas.

Cuevas is a 19-year-old currently signed to Chelsea, who purchased his rights from O’Higgins in his homeland in 2013. He rose to prominence in the 2013 South American Youth Championship held just prior to the Blues signing him, and he immediately went on loan to sister club Vitesse following his arrival at Stamford Bridge. He spent just over half a season in the Eredivisie without making an appearance, before dropping down a division to sign with FC Eindhoven, with whom he scored one goal in 15 games.

This year saw him return to his homeland for the season, signing with Universidad de Chile, although he has yet to turn out of their senior side.

Whilst his performances at club level leave a lot to be desired, on the international scene he has shown the promise that could see him become the new Alexis Sanchez, who has impressed so highly since signing for Arsenal from Barcelona over the summer.

Starting his career as a left-back for O’Higgins, Cuevas enjoyed a strong run in his nation's Under-20 side during Fernando Carvallo’s spell in charge. He was deployed as a wing-back in a 3-4-1-2 formation and showed a strong attacking instinct, but it was when Carvallo was replaced by Mario Salas just before the 2013 tournament that Cuevas’s true attacking strength was shown. Reverting to a four-at-the-back formation, Cuevas moved further forward and played as an out-and-out winger.

He excelled, scoring two goals in the first group stage as Chile won four out of four games, although they struggled to replicate their form in the final group stage, and finished the tournament fourth overall.

Since that tournament, Cuevas has also shown an adeptness in a central midfield and central attacking role, and he has a tenacious work rate and strong ability on both feet that is so highly regarded in the South American countries.

Considering he was just 17-years-old at the 2013 edition of the tournament, he is making a showing at this year’s version, and has once again impressed. As an attacking force, he netted goals in both of Chile’s two games played so far - scoring two of their three registered strikes.

Due to the plethora of stars in front of Cuevas in the Chelsea ranks, it is highly unlikely that he will be making his Stamford Bridge debut for a number of years yet. However, if he can have even half the impact Alexis Sanchez is having in the Premier League, the Blues may have just uncovered the next world beating star lurking in the talent factory that is Chilean football.

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