The Danish central defender has quietly become one of the most impressive defenders in the Premier League, but could depart Stamford Bridge for nothing next summer
The role of central defender in the Premier League is by no means a young man’s game and while Andreas Christensen is no longer a ‘youth prospect’, he is the youngest of the Blues three regular centre-halves.
The 25-year-old has revived what appeared to be a flatlining career under Thomas Tuchel, since the German’s arrival in west London at the turn of the year.
Christensen has quietly gone about his business and barely put a foot wrong in the process, without truly earning the kind of plaudits his performances have merited.
His displays have not, however, evaded the watchful gaze of his manager – who was quick to heap praise on the Danish international earlier this week.
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“He is a guy who is not shy to have hard tackles and win challenges and step up in games. He found his place,” Tuchel explained.
“He is very strong, very reliable and he has not reached his limits because in his age there is still room to improve.”
What is the concern of many within the Stamford Bridge hierarchy is where Christensen does that improving; as things stand he can walk away from Chelsea for free at the end of this campaign.
Negotiations over an extension with Christensen have stalled in recent weeks, but many members of the Blues board are thought to harbour plenty of optimism that a deal can be struck.
Tuchel alluded to as much when he claimed: “He can be a top defender for us in the next years and hopefully he will be because he comes from the academy.
“He knows what it takes and he has improved massively so far but it is not done yet – you have to show it over and over.
“There are big examples in this club of what it takes to be a legend in defence and there is still a way to go but we are very happy so far.”
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For all of Christensen’s technical prowess – some have questioned whether he is ‘heavyweight’ enough to become an elite central defender in a division as physical as the English top flight.
Tuchel does not have those same reservations, insisting perceptions of players can be misleading.
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“I think it is important we accept the personality of every player,” Tuchel said. “Some are more loud, some aggressive, some more calm. He’s a calm guy, very intelligent player.
“He is also a trustful and reliable person. These are good attitudes as a defender.
“From time to time he needs to be reminded to come out of his shell and show his strengths.”
As Christensen’s emergence from his shell continues, Chelsea will be all too aware the 25-year-old is free to negotiate a pre-contractual agreement with any one of his potential suitors from January 1.
While Thiago Silva is well into the latter stages of his career and Antonio Rudiger’s own future at the club remains up in the air – it is vital Chelsea ensure Christensen remains a Blue, for next term and beyond.
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