clear Mauricio Pochettino message sent as Chelsea star taking Jude Bellingham transfer route

Chelsea star taking Jude Bellingham transfer route as clear Mauricio Pochettino message sent

Ian Maatsen holds no bitterness towards Chelsea or Mauricio Pochettino following his loan switch to Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window.

The 22-year-old spent the first half of the season at Stamford Bridge but played just 465 minutes in all competitions for the Blues. Maatsen has been at Dortmund for a fraction of that time and has accumulated almost double that amount of minutes with the Black and Yellow.

The Netherlands international has scored once and assisted twice in his 10 games for the Germans. Maatsen signed a new contract at Chelsea when switching to Bundesliga in January for a loan spell, but there is believed to be a £35million release clause in his deal with the Blues that becomes active in the summer.

Chelsea, remain keen on selling Maatsen in the summer transfer window. Should a club pay his £35m clause, then the Blues would bank this as pure profit as Maatsen joined the club back in 2018 as an academy signing.

Maatsen has impressed at Signal Iduna Park thus far and even if Dortmund do not want to sign the Dutchman on a permanent basis, there is set to be a queue of potential suitors for his signature. At Chelsea, prior to his loan switch, he was a player very much on the periphery of proceedings.

He was essentially being used as a handyman; a player that could be used virtually anywhere. However, that was mostly from the bench for Maatsen. Although frustrated at his lack of opportunities, that restricted him to three starts in all competitions and just one in the Premier League, Maatsen understands Pochettino and his difficult position.

“I had trust at Chelsea but with the pressure they are under it is sometimes difficult for a manager to let everyone play – especially young talents with potential,” Maatsen said to The Guardian. “He has to make decisions for the team.

“You have to deal with it as a young player. Sometimes it’s not fair but maybe it’s the best decision for the club and other teammates. I appreciate that. But I want to play football.”

After a strong loan spell at Burnley in the Championship last term and an impressive pre-season for Chelsea in the club’s tour of the United States, it looked for all of the world that Maatsen would be part of Pochettino’s plans. Even with injuries to Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella, often Levi Colwill, an orthodox central defender, was preferred at left-back.

“My plan was to stay at Chelsea,” Maatsen added. “I’d done my loan spells. I thought I was ready to compete for the big clubs. But sometimes football works like this.

“I didn’t get a lot of opportunities. It’s not the end of the world but you have to be ready. You always have to believe because football can go quickly.”

He added: “That was the best solution for me. It was a big club where young players can develop. They have had players like [Jude] Bellingham, [Achraf] Hakimi, [Ousmane] Dembele. I am happy to be here.

“At Chelsea I trained at a high intensity. I kept believing that when my chance came I would take it. You want to play every game. It was just being patient. Don’t let your standards drop because if you do then you put yourself in a position where the coach says: ‘Maybe that is the reason why he doesn’t play’.”

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