All you need to know about new Chelsea signing Xavier Mbuyamba

Chelsea snapped up Xavier Mbuyamba on a free transfer earlier this summer after the highly-rated Dutchman quit Barcelona. 

The centre-back, 18, has been tipped for the top having already drawn comparisons to fellow countryman Virgil van Dijk.

Chelsea kept tabs on Mbuyamba (pictured above) when their transfer ban put paid to a permanent deal after a successful trial at the end of the 2018-19 season.

With a switch to Stamford Bridge off the table, the 6ft 4in defender swapped boyhood club MVV Maastricht for Barca’s La Masia youth academy, where the lack of a route to first-team action saw him leave after just a year.

Chelsea quickly swooped for the free agent, who is likely to spend the season in the club’s development squad.

But given boss Frank Lampard’s penchant for handing youth a chance, Mbuyamba will know first-team recognition will be within reach if he impresses.

As you would expect from any player Barcelona thought worthy of signing, he is an elegant defender who likes to bring the ball out from the back and pick out passes.

Mbuyamba’s height clearly gives him an advantage in the air and he has also played at right-back, meaning he is adept when players run at him in one-on-one situations.

He made just 11 senior appearances in the Dutch second tier for Maastricht, so it is not yet clear whether he will feature in Chelsea’s plans at any point this season.

But Lampard handed first-team debuts to eight academy players last term — a club record — and Mbuyamba’s agent Carlos Barros believes his client will not be far behind.

Barros said: “They really think that in one to two years, he can be in the first team.

“Lampard has of course already proven that he is not afraid to play with young players.”

Xavier Mbuyamba facts and stats

Age: 18

Nationality: Dutch

Position: Centre-back

Senior club record: MVV Maastricht (11 apps)

Transfer fee: Free

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