Ike Ugbo earned a lot of love from the Chelsea family and beyond on social media for his second-half exhibition versus Bournemouth yesterday evening.
The 22-year-old was introduced after an hour by Thomas Tuchel, with the scores level at 0-0.
Bournemouth then went ahead, only to be pegged back by a smart finish from Armando Broja.
Ugbo announced himself shortly afterward, flicking Ross Barkley’s corner into the Cherries net.
It was a night to remember for the returning loanees, who knew a positive contribution would put them in Tuchel’s good books.
Grabbing a goal, and a winning one at that, is always a decent place to start.
Ensuring victory under the circumstances was always crucial for Chelsea and Tuchel.
Facing a strong Championship side, in front of a pretty packed-out Vitality Stadium, fielding a very unfamiliar XI; a lot could have gone wrong for the Champions League holders.
Thanks to Ugbo, the Blues began their official pre-season tour on a positive.
Love bow to Ugbo
After the final whistle, the young centre-forward uploaded a post to Instagram, depicting the moment of his game-sealing strike.
Plenty of his Stamford Bridge colleagues shared their admiration toward the striker’s impact.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham left a sprinkling of Chelsea affection in the comments.
Trevoh Chalobah, who featured against Bournemouth, said his piece.
There was also respect omitted from outside the Blues contingent.
Joe Hart from Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa were the grateful donors.
Of course, one 30-minute cameo appearance does not ensure a place in Tuchel’s squad this season.
However, if any position was up for grabs, it would be in the no.9 role.
Failing to land one of Erling Haaland, Romelu Lukaku, Robert Lewandowski or any of the stellar names linked before the window closes, then Chelsea may be sweating a little.
In this scenario, they might have to fall upon the services of Ugbo, who proved his ability on loan with Cercle Brugge last term.
He netted 17 times in just 34 appearances, including four in his last three league fixtures.
That’s if the Blues can hold off the attentions from Genk, who reportedly have already agreed personal terms to sign the Englishman.