Exclusive: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are close to signing new contracts with Chelsea – with both set to play an integral part in head coach Frank Lampard’s first team plans this season.
The pair have been sidelined with injury problems over the first few weeks of the campaign, but are expected to pen fresh terms with the Blues ahead of their respective returns to action.
90min understands the teenagers will are likely to sign before the end of the month. The news on Hudson-Odoi is a particularly big boost for Chelsea given his current deal expires at the end of the season – and previous attempts to tie the player down had failed amid interest from Bayern Munich.
He made waves with a number of scintillating performances under Maurizio Sarri last term, with many Chelsea fans unhappy with their former manager’s reluctance to include the England international in his regular starting eleven in league games. Sarri’s hesitance to select the player also forced Hudson-Odoi to consider other options prior to Lampard’s appointment.
The 18-year-old has been out injured since April, when he was substituted with a ruptured Achilles during a 2-2 draw with Burnley. He is close to a return to the first team and is expected to feature for the club’s Under-23s, alongside James, on Friday night. The weekend’s trip to Wolves will come too soon for the player, but his return is expected this month.
The pair will benefit from Lampard’s long term plan, which has already seen the inclusions of number of young players in the first team during the early part of the season. Mason Mount in particular has impressed, while Tammy Abraham has scored four goals in four
Similar can be said for James. Lampard is ready to throw James into the first team in the coming weeks following his performances at Wigan last season, and potentially because of the patchy form of Cesar Azpilicueta – who has filled the role of right back in the early weeks.
James earned rave reviews at the DW Stadium as he scored three goals and managed three assists, helping the Latics stave off relegation by finishing 18th in the Championship.