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It seems fair to say that Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Chelsea has put to bed any hopes Tammy Abraham had of going to the Euros with England this summer.
Quite simply, if you don’t play, you don’t go to major tournaments with England. And having enjoyed the best football of his young career under Frank Lampard before his sacking, Abraham would have held realistic hopes of being part of Gareth Southgate’s squad this summer earlier this season.
The 23-year-old has played just 122 minutes of Premier League football under Tuchel, and although an ankle injury which kept him sidelined for five games hasn’t helped, his exclusion from the squad which drew 0-0 with Brighton on Tuesday was a clear indication of how far down the pecking order Abraham has fallen.
His odds of making the cut for the Euros have drifted out to 10/1 in recent months so he can pretty much forget about taking part, barring a nightmare injury crisis for England, so his thoughts will likely have already turned to his club future.
Tuchel has guided Chelsea into the Champions League semi-finals and has the Blues on course for a top-four finish, a remarkable turn of fortunes from the situation Lampard left him to pick up earlier this year.
So the German isn’t going anywhere soon, meaning out-of-favour Abraham must consider his own future, but he’s unlikely to be short of options should both he and Chelsea decide it’s time for him to move on this summer.
Aston Villa are the early favourites in the betting on Abraham’s future at 2/1, though West Ham closely follow them at 3/1. The Hammers are Chelsea’s opponents this Saturday but Abraham looks unlikely to get the opportunity to make an impression on the high-flying Hammers.
Abraham’s Next Move
Former West Ham and Chelsea striker Carlton Cole – who was a youth graduate at Stamford Bridge before enjoying the majority of his career at West Ham – believes Abraham has already proven he’s a top-level player, though he now needs to decide if he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge or make the jump this summer.
“With Tammy, I think he’s one of those players who needs an arm around him,” Cole told bookmakers.co.uk. “He needs the people around him to believe in him and he will perform if he gets that.
“When you look at his career to date, he’s done fantastic. I wouldn’t compare him to myself because he’s taken advantage of his chances at Chelsea much better than I did.
“He had a good run last season when they had to play the youth and he done well, but now he has to figure out what he wants to do with his career.
“Does he want to go somewhere and be the main man? Does he want to go to Aston Villa for example, and be their top striker? I know they like him there.
“He could go somewhere and be the focal point of an attack, a proper first choice striker with no squad rotation, like Didier Drogba used to be for Chelsea.
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“He’s got to look at his career and his life at this point and think about where he wants to go with it. Does he want to stay with the big team or move on and make a name for himself and be a stalwart in the England set-up?”
Cole’s own progress at Chelsea was interrupted by the beginning of the Roman Abramovich era, when the Blues began bringing in international star strikers such as Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu. He was quickly squeezed out of the picture but he was still left with a choice to make, much like Abraham.
He said: “I could have stayed at Chelsea when I was younger, not a lot of people know that – they asked me to stay – but I wanted to go and better myself. I would have been staying only to go on loan, but I didn’t want to do that anymore, I was sick of it, I wanted to call somewhere home.
“Does Tammy want the same? I don’t know, only he can answer that question. Hopefully he makes the right decision for himself and his family.
“Having been in the same situation, I found pastures new elsewhere because that’s what I felt I needed, and it worked out for me when I went to West Ham.”
Would a move to the Hammers work out just as well for Abraham in 2021? Cole thinks it could actually be the ‘perfect’ fit.
“If he was to come to West Ham, I’d welcome him with open arms,” said Cole. “He would be the perfect person to lead that front line.
“We’ve got Michail Antonio there, who is a top player, but Tammy could come in and challenge for that place and that’s what West Ham need, there’s no one to challenge Antonio. Tammy would be perfect.
“I’ve always liked a technical big striker and he could be the ideal fit for West Ham because they can play a bit of football this team, and he’d fit straight in, especially if we can keep [Jesse] Lingard.”
David Moyes’ West Ham are right in the thick of the chase for Champions League qualification with just goal difference separating fourth-placed Chelsea from the fifth-placed Hammers and only six games left to play.
Cole is very much looking forward to the meeting and despite having ties to both clubs he knows who he’d rather win the showdown at the London Stadium on Saturday.
He said: “I started at Chelsea, they gave me my opportunity in football, so I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them. But West Ham was where I played the best football of my career and I had a great relationship with the fans, I was there for a long time.
“When the two clubs play against each other I’m always torn. The youngster in me is a Chelsea fan, but the retired footballer in me will always have an affinity for West Ham and how everyone at the club treated me throughout my career and the love that the fans have shown me.
“When they play each other I must admit I do find myself siding towards West Ham, because they took me in, made me one of their own. This weekend I want West Ham to win because Chelsea have had their fair share of opportunities in the Champions League, I love to go for the underdog and in this case it’s West Ham.
“I still have love for Chelsea though.”
West Ham are a best price of 7/2 to finish in the top four, with Chelsea favoured over the Hammers at 4/5. Cole is expecting the fight to go the distance regardless of Saturday’s result.
“I think the race will go down to the wire, but Chelsea are in a good place, so West Ham are going to really have to dig deep and I think it would be good for football to have a little change in the top four.”
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