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Abdul Rahman Baba: What does the future hold?

4:46 AM MYT 13/07/2017
Abdul Rahman Baba
The Ghana full-back was supposed to be the next big African import at Stamford Bridge but he’s yet to find his feet and his future remains uncertain

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The £22 million transfer of Abdul Rahman Baba from Augsburg to Chelsea in the summer of 2015 sent a buzz across the African continent, especially his home country of Ghana, where football enthusiasts were thrilled by another Black Star donning the royal blue jersey and following in the footsteps of Michael Essien.

However, the former Greuther Furth player had a bit-part role at Stamford Bridge in his first season under Jose Mourinho, and was sent on loan to Schalke 04 last term, with the arrival of Marcos Alonso pushing him further down the pecking order.

Antonio Conte's not looking likely to use the wideman in the upcoming campaign, and the 23-year-old left-back might need to move away again in order to get first-team football.


The story of last season


Baba didn't fit into Conte's plans last season despite his undisputed qualities and returned to Germany on loan. He had begun to see off competition from Arsenal new boy Sead Kolasinac and Dennis Aogo when disaster struck in Gabon in January.

He had made a total of 21 apperances for the Gelsenkirchen outfit before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury while on duty with Ghana at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and has been ruled out ever since.


What could happen this window?


Baba is back at Stamford Bridge but is still some weeks away from making his full recovery to fitness. It is unlikely that Conte would make him part of his plans as the Blues return to the Champions League this term and aim to retain the Premier League title, as Alonso had begun to grow into his role last term, and Baba did little on loan to demonstrate that he has the quality required to make a different for the Pensioners.

The Ghanaian has not been void of suitors in this transfer window, with Schalke interested in retaining him after losing Kolasinac on a free transfer, but his current injury situation might be a stumbling block as they’ll want him fit and ready to go for the new season.

There has also been reported interest from Everton, Bournemouth, as well as newly promoted sides Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United.


What to expect next season


While a move to a 3-4-3 formation, the departure of Branislav Ivanovic and the shift inside of Cesar Azpilicueta mean that Chelsea may see a future for Baba on the left side, although with Conte understood to have dismissed Baba last term as he was too attack-minded, it's hard to see how there's a place for him at Stamford Bridge.

At 23, Baba still has youth on his side, but he needs first-team football and he'd surely be wise to seek a move away in order to reaffirm himself elsewhere.

 

A switch back to Schalke--where he has unfinished finished--might appeal, and Baba also knows the German league well.

However, his best route back to making an impact with Chelsea is surely by moving to another Premier League club on loan and demonstrating his class in front of Conte's eyes before hopefully earning his ticket back to Stamford Bridge.