It may seem a little harsh to judge a defender’s performance against the champions-elect at the top of their game.
Yet, Middlesbrough loanee Callum Chambers did little to suggest that he could make the grade at parent club Arsenal as his defensive deficiencies were exposed ruthlessly against a purring Chelsea machine on Monday night.
And perhaps it should make Newcastle United and Everton think twice about paying £10 million to give the 22-year-old a new home this summer. The Mirror reported last month that the newly-promoted Magpies were more than willing to meet Arsenal’s valuation.
With utility right-back Vurnon Anita set to depart in the summer when his contract expires, and with manager Rafael Benitez wanting more Premier League experience in his backline, links with Chambers made perfect sense.
Everton, too, are in the hunt for defensive reinforcements. Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams have a combined age of 66 and Chambers would certainly come a lot cheaper than fellow homegrown prospects Michael Keane and Harry Maguire.
However, as Chelsea steamrollered the now-relegated Boro 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, doubts will have been raised about Chambers’ ability to perform consistently at the top level. Better defenders than the former Southampton prospect have been bullied by Diego Costa in recent seasons but, in truth, Chambers never looked like putting up much of a fight.
He failed to make a single successful tackle all night as Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro combined in typically sprightly fashion around the edge of a packed Boro penalty area.
Chelsea, with a little more precision, could easily have doubled their tally.
And though Chambers will not come up against such a standard of opposition every week, his 22nd Premier League start in Middlesbrough colours won’t have helped his chances of earning a move to Newcastle or Everton this summer.