This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Chelsea have joined a number of Premier League clubs in the hunt to sign Wigan Athletic striker Joe Gelhardt, according to a report in The Daily Star, with the 17-year-old also on the wish-list of Liverpool, Spurs, Man City, Man United and Everton.
Gelhardt has represented England at U16, U17 and U18 level and has scored once in seven appearances in all competitions in his breakthrough season under Paul Cook at the DW Stadium.
So would Chelsea be a good home for Gelhardt if he moved to Stamford Bridge?
“I think this could be a good move for Gelhardt, as long as he is given first-team opportunities either at Chelsea or through a loan.
“Under Frank Lampard, the club certainly looks like a great place to be for a young player.
“The new Chelsea boss has put a lot of faith in youth since taking over in the summer and looking at the success they have had, you’d imagine it is something he will continue with.
“I don’t think he is ready to play in the top flight yet, so you’d imagine it would have to be a loan move for him for the time being.”
“Joining Chelsea at this stage of his career would unquestionably be a huge risk for the player who has yet to establish himself as a starter for Wigan Athletic.
“Since being handed his debut last year, the 17-year-old has made seven further appearances for the Latics in which he scored one goal.
“Whilst there is no doubting that Gelhardt is an exciting prospect, it could be argued that he may find it beneficial to stay at Wigan as doing so will give him the opportunity to play regularly at Championship level.
“For Chelsea’s sake, they should be looking at recruiting a striker who is capable of taking the Premier League by storm immediately as it could help them in their fight for a top-four finish.”
Would Chelsea be a good home for Joe Gelhardt if he moved to Stamford Bridge?
“If you had asked me this question a year or so ago, then I would have said absolutely not, but I think Chelsea could be an excellent move for him now.
“Since Frank Lampard came in, the former Derby boss has shown that he isn’t afraid to use young players. Part of that is because of the transfer ban, but he’s definitely getting the best out of them right now.
“It would be a massive coup to lure him away from the DW Stadium given that he’s just signed a new deal, but Chelsea are a massive club.
“He could prove to be an excellent acquisition for the long run, but for now, I think he should stay at Wigan for regular game-time.”