Reports this weekend suggest that Frank Arnesen has once again been busy in the youth transfer market, with his attentions turned to Barcelona.
Chelsea are believed to have secured the services of Georgian forward Giorgi Chanturia, who spent last season on loan at the Catalan club from Vake Tblisi.
He was well considered at La Masia but, according to AirFutbol, he will move to London, having been unable to agree a future in Spain.
The story has been picked up by a number of other outlets but none of them carry the authority or prestige of a well-renowned source, so there’s understandably a little scepticism about things right now, but the story is out there.
After impressing for Barcelona during his loan spell, ‘Gio’ believed he was good enough to make the step up the junior ranks, but the club disagreed, and told him he was set to play for their Junior B club in 2010-11, the fourth level at the club.
Rather disgruntled, he clearly looked for alternatives, and in stepped Chelsea. The plan for the Under-21 international, who only turned 17 in March, is to step straight into Steve Holland’s reserve team, which, of course, is the club’s second level, and therefore considered a ‘better’ option than Barcelona offered.
The other side of the story is that his Georgian owners were demanding too much money, which Barcelona couldn’t afford (and let’s face it, they’re not exactly rolling in money right now), but perhaps Chelsea have been able to stump up the cash.
Whatever the situation, and there is unfortunately a lot of conjecture and a lack of certainty, Chanturia appears to be on his way to London.
So what are we getting?
A quick search on YouTube will give you an idea of the sort of player he is, and there’s a lot to admire. Almost entirely left-footed, his technical ability is remarkable, and he can play across the front line in a number of different roles.
He arrived in Spain as a winger but was lined up for the Junior B team as a striker and returned eleven goals last season, the second highest total in the team. There were often times where he lacked the maturity to play as part of a team and tried to rely on individual ability, but over the course of the season grew into the collective mentality and was a much better player for it.
Possessing excellent movement and the ability to play ‘between the lines’ and with his back to goal, he was a key performer in Catalonia last year and was generally considered as the second best player in the squad after Gerard Deulofeu, who was oustanding for Spain in May’s European Under-17 Championships.
Gio wasn’t at those finals, as Georgia fell short in qualifying, but his four goals in five matches were an indication of the talent which can be found within him. Equally, the red card picked up against Holland could reveal something of a short temper in the teenage prospect.
We’ll keep investigating this story as it develops, in the hope of bringing confirmation on whether Giorgi Chanturia will be a Chelsea player next season or not.