About two years ago Alex Kiwomya burst onto the scene for Chelsea’s youth academy, scoring at will while managing to be one of the youngest players on the team. His impressive displays caught my eye and I posted this about his potential.
Two years later he has not progressed quite as some might have expected. He has one cap at the U18 level for England but he has mostly been forgotten about, despite some impressive performances. One problem is that he has been getting overlooked in a youth team full of stars including Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and John Swift.
2011/12 – 11 goals in 23 appearances (.48 goals/game)
2012/13 – 13 goals in 30 appearances (.43 goals/game)
2013/14 – 4 goals in 11 appearances (.36 goals/game)
In fairness to Kiwomya, he has seen a major increase in the level of competition from the U18s to U21s between last season and this season. His goal scoring rate in the UEFA Youth League competition (U19 level) is impressive (3 goals and 2 assists in 4 appearances).
In the summer transfer window Steve Bruce allegedly plotted a loan deal for Kiwomya to bring him to Hull in order to gain first team experience. Considering Chelsea had a tough time finding top flight loan deals for Chalobah and McEachran, it is encouraging to see a top flight team take an interest in the academy star.
Kiwomya’s contract is up at the end of the year and it’s likely that he might be offered an extension but nothing has been released yet. It seems that a contract offer will be contingent on his success this season, something that is worrying for fans of Kiwomya. Even if a contract is offered, there is no guarantee that Kiwomya will take it given that his first team opportunities decrease every day with Chelsea being linked to more transfer targets.
How Good is He Now?
The thing about Kiwomya was that he was about as raw as they come when he broke onto the scene in 2011. It seems that a lot of time has been spent fixing the small technical deficiencies in his game. He has become a better passer, dribbler and finisher while retaining the one attribute that has always made him stand out, pace. The problem is, he disappears in games. You can go entire halves without hearing his name once. When he is on the ball though, he is a nightmare for defenders.
It seems that everyone else has caught up with him. If you would have asked me two years ago who the best U16 player on the team was, I would have given Kiwomya the nod over RLC, Swift or Baker. Two years later, if I was asked about the U18s, I’d say that RLC is definitely better and players like Jeremie Boga and Andreas Christensen would even get the nod over Kiwomya.
I do not think I was wrong is making the assumption that he could be our best prospect, I just do not think he has made the step I expected. He’s only 17 and it is still a little rare that a player his age performs so well against higher level competition. My biggest concern is that he has not even had the smallest sniff at the first team. He’s tailor-made for counter-attacking football.
I will take the glass half full approach and hope that Chelsea are waiting for his 18th birthday to offer him a four or five year contract. Just last month was Kiwomya’s 3 year anniversary of joining the club making him a club-trained “home-grown” player that we desperately need. A few more years polishing up the rest of his game and he could still be a valuable contributor to our first team. He is the fastest player Chelsea have ever had.