Chelsea ‘open contract talks with Ian Maatsen’

Chelsea reportedly open contract talks with 21-year-old attacker Ian Maatsen following his impressive pre-season exploits in the United States.

Chelsea have opened talks with Dutch attacker Ian Maatsen over a new contract, according to a report.

The 21-year-old has made just one competitive appearance for the club since joining from PSV Eindhoven in 2018, but he has shone for the Blues during pre-season.

Maatsen was a key figure in Chelsea’s recent tour of the USA, scoring a brace in the Blues’ 5-0 win over Wrexham in Mauricio Pochettino‘s first game in charge before registering an assist against Newcastle United.

The new Chelsea head coach hinted last month that Maatsen would be offered the chance to prove himself in Chelsea colours this season, but he is now in the final year of his contract.

Maatsen will therefore be able to leave as a free agent in 2024, while he can also enter pre-contract talks with foreign clubs in January if no agreement with Chelsea is reached by then.

Ian Maatsen and Nicolas Jackson combine for Chelsea against Wrexham on July 19, 2023.© Reuters

However, the Evening Standard now reports that Chelsea have started negotiations with the 2002-born winger over a renewal, and Pochettino has told him that he wants to keep him.

While Maatsen shares Pochettino’s desire to remain at Stamford Bridge, the Netherlands Under-21 international wants guarantees over his path to the first team before making a decision.

Despite playing as a left-back in pre-season, Maatsen can reportedly expect to be deployed as a winger or attacking midfielder in the upcoming campaign, meaning that he could face stiff competition for places.

Maatsen could still leave Chelsea on loan this summer, but should the Dutchman decide that his long-term future lies away from West London, he will not be short of options.

Maatsen spent the 2022-23 season on loan at Burnley and contributed four goals and six assists from 39 Championship games, playing a crucial role in the Clarets’ title win and return to the Premier League.

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino on August 3, 2023© Reuters

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany is unsurprisingly keen to welcome Maatsen back on a permanent basis, and the Blues apparently turned down a £15m bid from the Clarets earlier this summer before slapping a £20m price tag onto his head.

West Ham United, Lens and Ajax are now believed to have joined the race for the Netherlands youngster, who has also been loaned out to Charlton Athletic and Coventry City over the past couple of years.

Maatsen made his first-team debut for Chelsea in a 7-1 EFL Cup third-round win over Grimsby Town in September 2019, before also making the bench for the Blues in the FA Cup and Champions League later that season.

Chelsea finalised their pre-season preparations with a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund in midweek and open their Premier League campaign at home to Liverpool on August 13.

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