England Under-21 captain and Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne has this afternoon arrived in Germany to finalise a €2m transfer to Bundesliga outfit Hamburg.
After completing a medical, Mancienne will sign terms on a four-year deal before heading off to join back up with Stuart Pearce’s England squad ahead of the start of next week’s European Under-21 Championships.
He will become Frank Arnesen’s first official signing since the former Danish international departed Stamford Bridge to become HSV’s Sporting Director, one which few will have seen coming.
Michael has been with Chelsea since the age of nine and was quickly tabbed for big things. A reserve player whilst still at school, he made his way through the ranks into the Blues’ first team squad, but was unable to progress any further.
Two loan spells with Queens Park Rangers gave him a solid grounding in the professional game but with concerns over his suitability to play in his preferred role at centre-back due to his slight physique, he was more often used as a full back.
The first of three loan spells at Wolves came during the 2008-09 season, a campaign which would see him finally make his senior Chelsea debut. He made four league appearances under Guus Hiddink and was voted the club’s Young Player of the Season.
Despite his emergence, Mancienne continued to face a brick wall in search of playing time at Stamford Bridge and has instead spent the last two seasons back at Molineux in the Premier League.
He missed five months of the 2010-11 season with a serious knee injury but returned to fitness in time to help avoid relegation in the closing weeks of the season.
Yet with his future looking increasingly bleak in London, a departure overseas was not an apparent option. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy indicated that his club may not have been able to match Chelsea’s asking price, but they were certainly interested.
Step in Arnesen and Hamburg. Having already expressed an interest in other young Blues such as Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta and even midfielder Josh McEachran (plus the recently departed Michael Woods), he and Head Scout Lee Congerton are undoubtedly enamoured with the quality being produced at Stamford Bridge, and the pair have taken quick steps to ensure they get their men.
Mancienne arrived in Germany a short while ago and indicated his delight at the prospect of joining his new club:
“HSV is a great club with awesome fans. I´m looking forward to play in front of more than 50,000 people.”
The move is likely to suit him, as whilst the Bundesliga is perhaps closer to English football than any other top level European league, it is less reliant on physical excellence than the Premier League and with Mancienne not being the tallest nor the strongest, he will view that as a good thing.
TheChels wishes Michael the best of luck in his future endeavours as yet another Chelsea product flies the nest for pastures new.