Arsenal youngster Omari Hutchinson has left the club to join London rivals Chelsea. Hutchinson’s contract has been a major source of contention of the past few months as the club have scrambled to try and agree the talented teen to fresh terms at the Emirates Stadium.
However, Hutchinson and his agent, Kia Joorabchian were unable to agree to terms with the club. Though the exact reasons for the club failing to agree terms with the player are unknown, it is thought that a perceived lack of playtime was a key factor in the youngster’s decision.
Hutchinson’s departure could spell the beginning of a worrying period for the club and their Hale End academy. Hale End is considered by many to be the life blood of the club, with many famous players having made their way through including David Rocastle, Tony Adams, Cesc Fàbregas, Jack Wilshere and Héctor Bellerín all having forged a career through the youth team and, more recently, to soo have Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe. Despite this, more deaprtures are expected.
The details of which youngsters will be departing this summer is not yet known, but it will be a job for Technical Director Edu and Academy Manager Per Mertesacker to ensure that Arsenal have more talented players able to make the step-up in Hutchinson’s wake.
For their part, Arsenal will be due compensation for Hutchinson’s departure. As Hutchinson is under the age of 23 and is moving for “free” to another club in England, Arsenal and Chelsea will have to battle out in court over a potential compensatory fee for the player.
Hutchinson moving to Chelsea is a surprising move nevertheless. Leaving Arsenal in pursuit of game time is understandable, however, it’s unlikely that he will find many more minutes available at Chelsea, who have notoriously been poor with integrating youth players in the senior set up.
Hutchinson was on the bench for several Arsenal senior matches last season, but was not bought on for any of them.
The deal represents a major coup for Chelsea, who have also agreed terms to bring defender Zak Sturge from Brighton as well.
Given how highly-rated Hutchinson is in the Arsenal set-up, it is a bitter blow, especially to the fans who were hoping to catch glimpses of him this season. Arsenal had been planing to loan Hutchinson to a Championship side this summer, but those plans were dropped.
It is also another worrying sign for the club that Kia Joorabchian is still involved in deals at the club. Joorabchian’s involvement at Arsenal has seen the club pick up the likes of David Luiz, Cédric Soares and the disastrous signing of former-Chelsea winger Willian. Though Joorabchian slightly redeemed himself in the eyes of Arsenal fans last season by helping to broker a deal with Real Madrid for Martin Ødegaard, him allowing Hutchinson to move to Chelsea will not do Edu’s image any good.