We’re now two games into Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States, and there’s been one major surprise package so far.
The Blues player that has come from nowhere to shock many is Ian Maatsen.
Ian Maatsen, who’s now 21, displayed his huge potential last season by starring for a Burnley side that stormed to the Championship title and promotion.
We doubt many people predicted the left-back would make such an impact on Chelsea’s pre-season this summer, though.
Maatsen’s made a name for himself recently as an exciting left-back with a very bright future.
The Dutch full-back has spent the past few seasons developing his game out on various loans. Incidentally, he’s made one Blues first-team appearance as well.
However, we’ve seen him making an extremely positive start in Chelsea’s pre-season playing higher up the pitch.
He’s started as a left-winger in this month’s friendly matches against Wrexham and Brighton this summer, scoring two goals against the League Two side.
On top of his goals, the quick wide player has really caught the eye with his movement and general play alongside some more recognised first-team faces at Stamford Bridge.
The Athletic reported in June that Chelsea received approaches from the likes of Nottingham Forest, West Ham, Wolfsburg and Benfica for Maatsen. However, newly-promoted Burnley are considered the favourites to re-sign the £20million defender.
This was before Maatsen started the pre-season tour in such fine fashion, though.
He’s clearly doing enough to impress Blues head coach Mauricio Pochettino with starts in this new position, so we’re intrigued to see if he can keep this up for the final three games of the tour.
As it stands, we wouldn’t be overly shocked if he’s promoted to the first-team squad for the upcoming 2023/24 season. That’s certainly not something we thought we would be predicting a few weeks ago!
In fairness, The Athletic claimed last week that Chelsea could now perform a U-turn on initial plans to get rid of Maatsen this summer due to his pre-season performances.